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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)February 16, 2011

(MAHWAH, NJ) – Eric D. Weitz, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, will speak at Ramapo College of New Jersey in March.

In his talk, “Toward a Critical History of Human Rights: On the Problems of Self-Determination and Territorial Partitions,” Weitz will explore how self-determination and partitions demonstrate the entwining of rights with what we would now label crimes against humanity, notably, the practice of forced deportations of targeted populations and the creation of huge refugee streams.

In order to achieve a more nuanced history of human rights in the contemporary world Weitz will pursue the following avenues: 1) an intellectual and political history of the concept of self-determination, and 2) an examination of the post-1945, ethnically-based territorial partitions, namely, India/Pakistan, Palestine/Israel, Rwanda/Burundi. Underlying this approach, Weitz emphasizes, is the presumption that human rights is not a singular thing, but a series of phenomena and concepts replete with tensions and contradictions.

Weitz is Distinguished McKnight University Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. Since 2001 he has also been serving as the Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair in the College of Liberal Arts. Currently, he is on sabbatical at the Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University and writing “A World Divided: A New Global History from the French Revolution to the Present.”  The book, under contract to Princeton University Press, is a combined history of human rights and the segmentation of populations in the modern era.  His previous books include “A Century of Genocide” (2003) and “Creating German Communism, 1890-1990” (1996), and most recently, “Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy” (2007), all published by Princeton University Press.
Weitz will speak on Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 1-2 p.m. at Ramapo College in the York Room of the Birch Mansion under the auspices of the Gross Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the History Club. The presentation is free and open to the public.  For more information or to reserve a seat, please call 201.684.7409.


Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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