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Contribution to Book
Human Rights
Visual Global Politics (2018)
  • Sharon Sliwinski
It is one of the most recognizable passages in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – that slightly oblique, and yet grave reference to the Nazi death camps: ‘Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind…’ These barbarous acts were front-page news in most of the Allied countries in the spring of 1945, at the very moment when the United Nations was founded at a conference in San Francisco. The newsstands were filled with photographs from the newly liberated Dachau and Buchenwald camps. Illustrated magazines such as Life and Picture Postbrought the public fact-to-face with the Nazis’ mass manufacture of corpses, which is to say, these dramatic images provided the backdrop as members of the new intergovernmental organization began to call for an international bill of rights. This demand ultimately manifest in the UDHR, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948. All to say, this particular iteration of universal human rights was borne amidst one of the twentieth-century’s most dramatic aesthetic scenes.
Publication Date
Roland Bleiker
Publisher Statement
We live in a visual age. Images and visual artefacts shape international events and our understanding of them. Photographs, film and television influence how we view and approach phenomena as diverse as war, diplomacy, financial crises and election campaigns. Other visual fields, from art and cartoons to maps, monuments and videogames, frame how politics is perceived and enacted. Drones, satellites and surveillance cameras watch us around the clock and deliver images that are then put to political use. Add to this that new technologies now allow for a rapid distribution of still and moving images around the world. Digital media platforms, such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, play an important role across the political spectrum, from terrorist recruitment drives to social justice campaigns.

This book offers the first comprehensive engagement with visual global politics. Written by leading experts in numerous scholarly disciplines and presented in accessible and engaging language, Visual Global Politics is a one-stop source for students, scholars and practitioners interested in understanding the crucial and persistent role of images in today’s world.
Citation Information
Sharon Sliwinski. "Human Rights" Visual Global Politics (2018)
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