Constellations Special Issue on Human Rights

The Current issue of Constellations (Volume 20, Issue 1, March 2013) has a special section on human rights, guest edited by Rainer Forst, Christoph Menke, and Stefan Gosepath. The section contains six papers by Seyla Benhabib, Charles Beitz, Etienne Balibar, Ahmed An-Na’im, Costas Douzinas, and Susanne Baer. This special issue originated in the international conference, “Human Rights…

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Quentin Skinner: ‘How Machiavellian was Machiavelli?’

On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the composition of Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince, Quentin Skinner delivered this public lecture, titled ‘How Machiavellian was Machiavelli?’ at the University of York on 12 February 2013. Quentin Skinner is the Barber Beaumont Professor of the Humanities at Queen Mary, University of London.

Oil and Autocratic Regime Survival

New draft paper by Joseph Wright, Erica Frantz, and Barbara Geddes examines how oil revenues promote autocratic survival: Oil and Autocratic Regime Survival [PDF] Here is the abstract: Does oil income stabilize autocratic regimes? While the conventional wisdom claims that oil wealth prolongs autocratic rule by hindering democratization, recent challenges to this claim suggest that…

Typology of Religious Arguments in Public Reason

Andrew March (Yale) has posted Rethinking Religious Reasons in Public Justification on SSRN. Here is the abstract: This paper intervenes in the debate on the place of religious arguments in public reason. I advance the debate not by asking whether something called “religious reasons” ought to be invoked in the justification of coercive laws, but

Report on Internet Censorship in Iran: ‘After the Green Movement’

A new report produced by the Citizen Lab as part of the OpenNet Initiative, details the Iranian regime’s increasing Internet Surveillance and censorship and its extensive filtering system since the 2009 post election green wave of protests. The report was authored by Matthew Carrieri and Saad Omar Khan. Excerpt from the conclusion: The next twelve

Panel Discussion: ‘Civil Rights in Muslim Democracies’

On January 28, 2013, Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs held a panel discussion entitled “Civil Rights in Muslim Democracies” with Jocelyne Cesari, Senior Research Fellow at the Berkley Center, Daniel Brumberg, Associate Professor of Government and Co-Director of Democracy and Governance Studies at Georgetown University, José Casanova, Professor of Sociology


Iran Tribunal Published Its Final Judgment

The Iran Tribunal, a symbolic, non-binding legal tribunal, particularly focused on the decade of human rights abuses perpetrated by the Islamic Republic of Iran against political prisoners throughout the 1980s, has published its final judgement. The Iran Tribunal comprised of two stages: a ‘Truth Commission’ and the ‘Tribunal’. The Commission (June 2012) collected statements, witnessed

New Study on the Role of ICTs in Iran’s Green Movement

A new working paper from the Centre for Development Informatics at the University of Manchester analyses the role played by information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Iran’s Green Movement, applying actor-network theory (ANT), specifically Michel Callon’s “four moments of translation” (Problematisation, Interessement, Enrolment, and Mobilisation): ICTs and Social Movements under Authoritarian Regimes: An Actor-Network Perspective

Die Grammatik der Freiheit

German political scientist Peter Graf Kielmansegg has a new book: Die Grammatik der Freiheit: Acht Versuche über den demokratischen Verfassungsstaat, published by Nomos Verlag, January 2013. Peter Graf Kielmansegg is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Mannheim. Book description: “Der demokratische Verfassungsstaat ist, so scheint es, aus den Kämpfen des 20. Jahrhunderts

Iran’s Regime Escalates Crackdown Ahead of Election

As part of a new campaign of media crackdown and intimidation, Iranian security agents raided the offices of five reformist-leaning newspapers on Sunday and arrested more than a dozen journalists. Since Sunday three more journalists have been arrested. Iran’s intelligence ministry took responsibility for the arrests, accusing the detained journalists of being members of “one




The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran announces the publication of Sketches of Iran: A Glimpse from the Front Lines of Human Rights, available now at Amazon.com. In this unprecedented collection of drawings, editorial cartoons, and portraits of human rights defenders, internationally acclaimed Iranian artists depict the pain and the resiliency of those in Iran who refuse to relinquish their rights, despite the Iranian government’s attempts to silence them.


After the “Arab springs” and other protest movements that prompted many rises and falls in last year’s index, the 2013 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index marks a return to a more usual configuration.


  • Iran: Prosecute Officials in Detained Blogger’s Death | Human Rights Watch →Iran’s judiciary should conclude a speedy, independent, and transparent criminal investigation followed by prosecution of those believed responsible for the death of the blogger Sattar Behesht. Beheshti died in the custody of Tehran’s cyber police in November 2012. Iranian officials should stop harassing his family and hampering their efforts to seek justice and ensure that those responsible for the blogger’s death are held to account. Although Beheshti died almost four months ago, there is no indication that the judiciary has concluded the criminal investigation into the officers accused of responsibility for his death, despite promises by officials that the case would be sent to the courts for prosecution before mid-February.
  • New report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran →”The Special Rapporteur assesses in this report that there continues to be widespread systemic and systematic violations of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Reports communicated by nongovernmental organisations, human rights defenders, and individuals concerning violations of their human rights or the rights of others continue to present a situation in which civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights are undermined and violated in law and practice. Moreover, a lack of Government investigation and redress generally fosters a culture of impunity, further weakening the impact of the human rights instruments Iran has ratified.”
  • Resetdoc Videos: Andrew Arato on ‘The Arab Spring and Democratic Constituent Power’ →In order to create a new democratic political order the initial transformation process needs even more participation and a democratic constituent power, argues political scientist Andrew Arato at Reset-Dialogues’ Istanbul Seminars. Democracy making is a consensual process with an active input from civil society groups, and not just from elites. In Egypt this constituent democratic form never really emerged yet, also because the Brotherhood allowed the military to impose its own rules, asking for quick elections in return.
  • Wege zu einem authentischen Säkularismus, von Nader Hashemi – Qantara.de →”Zwei Jahre nach Beginn des Arabischen Frühlings bestätigt eine Reihe politischer Entwicklungen eine Behauptung aus meinem Buch “Islam, Secularism and Liberal Democracy” (2012). Darin argumentierte ich, dass in muslimischen Gesellschaften der Weg zur Demokratie, welche Biegungen und Wendungen er auch nevhmen wird, “nicht umhin kann, die Tore der religiösen Politik zu durchqueren”.”
  • Call for Iran to end house arrest of opposition leaders | guardian.co.uk →Six leading human rights organisations have called on Iran to end the “arbitrary” house arrest of opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who have been cut off from the outside world for nearly two years without being put on trial.
  • Photo Essays: 50 Years of Women’s Right to Vote in Iran – Qantara.de →In 1963 – 50 years ago, women in Iran got the right to vote. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi allowed women to vote as one part of a broader reform program to modernize the country. Women’s voting rights in particular were granted in late January by way of a national referendum. Initially, the majority of Iranians stood behind the reform agenda known as the White Revolution. id-1963 brought heavy opposition to implementing the reform, and Iran’s spiritual elites were bitterly against the White Revolution. It was this context that propelled the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini, who would go on to lead his own revolution.