Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, School of Political Science and Economics, Meiji University

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2001
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Nagoya University
The Evolution of "Human Rights" Concepts in a Global Context

Most scholarly debates on human rights tend to be ahistorical, regarding human rights as a given concept that should be applied universally throughout the world, while others challenge the desirability of their applicability to non· Western countries. These tendencies often lead scholars to accept human rights as a given and to debate how it should be applied universally. What is lacking in this approach is any analysis of how human rights came to be regarded as a "universal' concept, and how both Western and non-Western countries came to conceive of the promotion of human rights as one of the most important international issues. This proposed project examines the development of human rights in the global historical context in order to demonstrate the process by which human rights came to be conceived as a universal principle, even in the face of powerful criticism from a variety of perspectives, including cultural relativism.