Decoding international law: semiotics and the humanities
Oxford University Press, New York, 2010, 576 pp.
Violations of international law and human rights laws are the plague of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. People’s inhumanity to people escalates as wars proliferate and respect for human rights and the laws of war diminish. In Decoding International Law: Semiotics and the Humanities, Professor Susan Tiefenbrun analyzes international law as represented artfully in the humanities.
Mass violence and flagrant violations of human rights have a dramatic effect that naturally appeals to writers, film makers, artists, philosophers, historians, and legal scholars who represent these horrors indirectly through various media and in coded language. This reader-friendly book enables us to comprehend and decode international law and human rights laws by interpreting meanings concealed in great works of art, literature, film and the humanities. Here, the author adopts an interdisciplinary method of interpretation based on the science of signs, linguistics, stylistics, and an in-depth analysis of the work’s cultural context.
This book unravels the complexities of such controversial issues as terrorism, civil disobedience, women’s and children’s human rights, and the piracy of intellectual property. It provides in-depth analyses of diverse literary works: Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent and the movie Hotel Rwanda (both representing terrorism); Martin Luther King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail; two documentary films about women and family law in Iran, Divorce Iranian Style and Two Women; Lisa See’s Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (women’s human rights and human trafficking in China); Uzodinma Iweala’s Beasts of No Nation (shedding light on child soldiering and trafficking in Africa), and much more.
About the Autor
Susan Tiefenbrun received her J.D. from New York University Law School, a Ph.D in French literature with distinction from Columbia University, an M.A. in French and a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin where she was Phi Beta Kappa as a junior and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Professor Tiefenbrun is Director of the Center of Global Legal Studies at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and Director of the LL.M. Programs in International Trade and Investment and American Legal Studies for foreign lawyers. She was awarded the French Legion of Honor, by Presidential Decree in 2003. Her special interests are international law, international business transactions, international intellectual property, international human rights law, and law and literature. She has written a book-length study of Soviet laws and Eastern European joint venture laws, numerous articles on international intellectual property and piracy, international human rights, as well as global sex trafficking. She edited three books on law and the arts, war crimes, and legal ethics. She is currently writing two books involving women’s human rights laws and tax-free trade zones in the world and in the United States. She is President of the Law & Humanities Institute West-coast Branch. She founded two international law study abroad programs in France eighteen years ago and in China four years ago and continues to direct them both each summer. Professor Tiefenbrun speaks ten foreign languages.