Decoding International Law

Decoding International Law : Semiotics and the Humanities

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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

Product details

  • Hardback | 588 pages
  • 167.64 x 236.22 x 40.64mm | 907.18g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195385772
  • 9780195385779

About Susan Tiefenbrun

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 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 more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments ; PART A: INTRODUCTION TO SEMIOTICS AND THE LAW ; Introduction ; Chapter 1. Legal Semiotics ; PART B: TERRORISM ; Chapter 2. A Semiotic Approach to a Legal Definition of Terrorism ; Chapter 3. State-Sponsored Terrorism, the Laws of War, and the Role of Story-Telling as a Self-Help Remedy: Law, Literature and Semiotics ; PART C: CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE ; Chapter 4. Deconstructing nullCivil Disobediencenull: A Semiotic Definition ; Chapter 5. Semiotics and Martin Luther King's nullLetter from Birmingham Jailnull ; Chapter 6. On Civil Disobedience, Jurisprudence, Feminism and the Law in the Antigones of Sophocles and Anouilh ; PART D: WOMEN'S HUMAN RIGHTS ; Chapter 7. The Semiotics of Women's Human Rights in Iran ; Chapter 8. Gendercide and the Cultural Context of Sex Trafficking in China ; PART E: CHILDREN'S HUMAN RIGHTS ; Chapter 9. The Culture of Violence: Child Soldiers, Slavery and the Trafficking of Children ; PART F: CULTURE AND SEMIOTICS ; Chapter 10. The Japanese Culture and Copyright Infringement, Defamation, and Sex Trafficking: A Study of the Fictional Life of a Geisha ; Chapter 11. The Impact of Culture on the Semiotics of Treaty Interpretation: How Pirates Read and Misread the Berne Conventionshow more

Review quote

The entire book features eloquent writing (except of course when assembling laws and international conventions for evidence), explicit introductions and conclusions, and a merciful absence of the jargon that makes much semiotic writing both incomprehensible to all except the initiated and inconsistent with its imperial claim to apply to all aspects of human understanding. * William Pencak, International Journal for the Semiotics of Law *show more