David Scheffer at Carnegie Council, taped January 31, 2012

David Scheffer on BBC R3 Nightwaves

David Scheffer, the first US ambassador for war crimes, has recently published All the Missing Souls: A Personal History of the War Crimes Tribunals with Princeton University Press. In the book, he discusses bringing some of the most notorious war criminals to justice. David was interviewed on BBC Radio 3 NightWaves on 25th January and the interview is now available to listen again here.

New History Catalog

We invite you to check out our new 2012 history catalog at: http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/history12.pdf

You will find books by Emma Rothschild, Sheldon Garon, Tonio Andrade, Andrei Codrescu, Jill Lepore, Jim Kloppenberg, David Scheffer and many more. New paperbacks and ebooks are also available.

The 126th annual meeting of the American Historical Association is going on now in Chicago. We’re there at booth no. 313. Stop by to say hello and browse new books.

‘Exceptional People’ features in Economist’s 2011 roundup


Congratulations to authors Ian Goldin, Geoffrey Cameron and
Meera Balarajan whose book ‘Exceptional People: How Migration Shaped our World
and will Define our Future’
was listed in the Economist’s Best Books of 2011.

Watch “Enemies of the People” tonight on PBS

Princeton University Press author David Scheffer (his book All the Missing Souls is forthcoming early next year) will be interviewed in a documentary described as “a searing and personal investigation of one of the 20th century’s most infamous instances of planned mass murder — the Khmer Rouge ‘killing fields’ of Cambodia.”

Scheffer will contribute to the program from his unique perspective as the United States first Ambassador for War Crimes and a figure instrumental in the creation of the war crimes tribunals for Cambodia and elsewhere in the late 90s. PBS has posted a Q&A with Scheffer on their web site to promote the documentary.

Dispatch from PUP Europe

Last week European Advisory Board member David Goodhart, the founding editor of Prospect Magazine, acted as a judge for the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize, the most prestigious award in the UK for non-fiction.  The award ceremony was filmed as a special edition of the Culture Show on the BBC and can be seen here:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b012fvh3/The_Culture_Show_BBC_Samuel_Johnson_Prize_for_NonFiction_2011_A_Culture_Show_Special/ 

An ever increasing number of our rights deals are for translations into Chinese, and this week saw the sale of the Chinese (complex) rights for Daniel Bell and Avner de Shalit’s THE SPIRIT OF CITIES.

It was a terrific week for coverage of PUP books in the European media, with a two-page review of Emma Rothschild’s THE INNER LIFE OF EMPIRES appearing in the Times Higher Education, and John Ikenberry’s LIBERAL LEVIATHAN and Diane Coyle’s THE ECONOMICS OF ENOUGH listed as summer “must reads” in the Financial Times.  Timothy Garton Ash praised Yan Xuetong’s ANCIENT CHINESE THOUGHT, MODERN CHINESE POWER in the Guardian , while Ian Goldin’s EXCEPTIONAL PEOPLE was noticed in Le Monde and the Polish daily Gazeta Prawna.

Amb. David Scheffer speaks with CNN about Ratko Mladic’s arrest

We are publishing All the Missing Souls, Amb. Scheffer’s personal history of the war crime tribunals of the 90s and the creation of the International Criminal court. Read more about the book here: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9520.html.

When Is Murder Genocide? Norman Naimark on Stalin’s Genocides

After running across this dual review of Stalin’s Genocides and Bloodlands at The National Review’s site, I found a terrific video of Norman Naimark discussing his book. This video was prepared by Stanford University and they wrote a companion article that is definitely a must-read for anyone interested in how we define genocide.

If you would like to sample this book, try this free excerpt available on our web site: http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9278.pdf

Project Syndicate: “The Last Line of Decency” by Ian Buruma

Every Friday afternoon for more than a year, hundreds of Israeli Jews have gathered on a dusty little square in the middle of Arab East Jerusalem. There are some Palestinians there, too, including a couple of boys selling fresh orange juice. The people gather there, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, to protest the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes to make way for Israeli settlers.

These evictions are humiliating, sometimes violent, and frightening to other Palestinian families – who are in danger of losing their homes as well. Israeli students were the first to organize a protest, known as the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement. They were followed by distinguished professors, famous novelists, and a former attorney general, among others.

At first, the Israeli police used force against the protesters, even though such demonstrations are perfectly legal in Israel. This provoked such bad publicity that the police backed off, while still blocking the road to the new settlements. All the demonstrators can do is hold up signs, bang drums, chant slogans, and show solidarity just by turning up.

Read more…

Ian Buruma is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard College. His latest book is Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on Three Continents (Princeton). He is a regular contributor to many publications, including the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the Guardian, and the Financial Times.

From Project Syndicate: “Clarity about Diamonds” by Peter Singer

Diamonds have an image of purity and light. They are given as a pledge of love and worn as a symbol of commitment. Yet diamonds have led to gruesome murders, as well as widespread rapes and amputations.

Charles Taylor, a former president of Liberia currently facing war crimes charges at a special court in The Hague, is alleged to have used diamonds to fund rebels in Sierra Leone’s civil war.  The case against Taylor represents only one of several examples in which diamonds have facilitated widespread human rights violations.

When diamonds’ role in fueling violent conflict in Africa gained worldwide attention, the diamond industry established the Kimberley Process in order to keep ‘blood diamonds’ out of international trade. The initiative has met with some success, although it has not completely halted trade in diamonds from conflict-torn countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Read more at Project Syndicate.

Peter Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics in the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne. He is also the author of The Expanding Circle: Ethics, Evolution, and Moral Progress. A new edition of this book, with an afterword by Singer, will be available from PUP in June 2011.

PUP Exclusive: “Can the French legally ban the burqa?” by John R. Bowen

Can the French legally ban the burqa?

John R Bowen

author of Why the French Don’t Like Headscarves and Can Islam Be French?

France has just passed a law that its prestigious State Council said has no clear legal basis, that may soon be declared unconstitutional, and that would in any case be challenged before the European Court of Human Rights. The general ban on covering the face in public space will lead to fines and ‘education’ for Muslim women wearing what is called the burqa, the niqab or the ‘full veil.’ The measure easily passed the lower house on July 13th, and now goes to the Senate for the expected approval.

It is easy to ridicule the French law: why set the police out to track down the miniscule number of women wearing burqas, who tend to be French-born, not Afghan imports? Why not allow them their religious freedom? Does the law reflect anything more than general Islamophobia and calculated electioneering?

Well, certainly French politicians listened to polls showing strong support for the law, and voting for it may undercut support for the far-right National Front, so simple electoral politics might explain the vote. But politicians could have opted for a more narrowly-tailored ban, one limited to government offices and shops and that would have likely been judged constitutional. They argue that a broad law sends the right message, and that it is constitutional. They make three arguments for its legality, only one of these claims has a chance of being accepted—and it might seem the oddest of the three to those outside France.

The first argument is that the burqa stands for the oppression or the inequality of women. This claim is too abstract to be of legal use—what is it for an item of clothing to have an objective meaning? Moreover, no women are coming forward to complain about having to wear the garment in question. In the absence of a clear harm, the law must tread very lightly.

Others argue that wearing the burqa violates the dignity of the individual. Although the idea of individual dignity is held high in France, it is difficult to translate into law, particularly when it conflicts with individual rights. After a debate in the 1990s over whether “dwarf tossing” violated individual dignity—the State Council ruled that it did but was roundly criticized—France’s courts have given this notion a wide berth, except in the sphere of bioethics and human reproduction.

This leaves a third claim, that covering the face in public violates basic ideas of how French people should live together, and thus offends public moral order, or ordre public. Justice Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie based her argument for the law on this principle, saying that the law would protect French rules of living together, with people able to speak with each other “faces uncovered”.

Such a claim might make little sense in America, but French political ideas give the state a large role in creating a ‘community of citizens’. The state school system is supposed to create a sense of shared citizenship; marriage is supposed to take place only at city hall; the state retains a strong role in everyday life.

But what about individual rights? Does not the French Constitution, itself drawing on the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens, protect religious beliefs? Indeed it does, but France considers religious practices to be protected only when they are part of religious requirements, as in the case of worship or eating appropriate foods. France routinely limits behavior that in the United States would enjoy First Amendment protections, such as distributing religious materials on the street or dressing in a religious way. And thus the government thinks that it might be able to successfully argue that because burqa-wearing is not required in Islam, and because it violates French ‘public moral order’, the ban does not unduly infringe on the liberty of its citizens.

The next months will see whether France’s Constitutional Council (and perhaps the European Court of Human Rights) sees things in the same way.

Joshua Kurlantzick calls If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die, “meticulously researched and powerful”

When I arrived in Dili, capital of the new nation of Timor Leste (East Timor), in early 2006, much of the town still looked like a war had just ended…That Timor had not yet recovered was hardly surprising. Seven years earlier, in 1999, after the former Portuguese colony occupied by Indonesia since 1975 had voted in a referendum for its independence, pro-Indonesia militias razed the tiny half island. The campaign of slaughter would not have been out of place in the Rwandan genocide or the brutal West African wars…Thousands died, 70 percent of Timor’s infrastructure was destroyed, and nearly half the population of East Timor fled their homes and wound up as refugees.

–Joshua Kurlantzick, reviewing “If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die” by Geoffrey Robinson at The Washington Monthly.