Moral Imperialism

A Critical Anthology

400 pages

October, 2002

ISBN: 9780814736142



Also available in


LawCultural Studies

Part of the Critical America series


Berta Esperanza Hernández-Truyol is Levin, Mabie & Levin Professor of Law at Levin College of Law, University of Florida. She is editor of Moral Imperialism: A Critical Anthology (NYU Press).

All books by Berta Esperanza Hernández-Truyol

In the controversy over female genital mutilation, Congress was quick to condemn practices throughout Africa and the Middle East and to take action criminalizing the practice domestically. Yet at the same time, it bluntly dismissed Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch when they pointed out human rights violations closer to home in the form of the disproportionately high rate of the imposition of capital punishment on black men, and the disempowerment of poor women under new draconian welfare rules. The irony of the United States' international condemnation of types of activities in which it engages within its own borders is not lost on Third World critics.

Moral Imperialism sets out to bring an international human rights framework to the analysis of current international and domestic legal, political, and cultural crises. It explores the United States' moral supremacy during a time of clear domestic shortcomings and asks whether insisting that other nations adhere to norms that derive from dominant U.S. culture and history may harm societies—both within and outside of the U.S.—with radically different cultures and histories.

Contributors: Beverly Greene, Kevin Johnson, M. Patricia Fernandez Kelly, Holly Maguigan, Boaventura De Sousa Santos, Saskia Sassen, and Eric Yamamoto.


  • "Too much of the literature in human rights has been limited to a consideration of the detail of specific civil and political rights. This book breaks this pattern by introducing political, economic, social, and theoretical issues in a single volume. Moral Imperialism is an interesting and informative collection and should become part of any syllabus on the international protection of human rights."

    Law and Politics Book Review