The Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies and the Department of Political Science at Columbia University present

Book Panel: “Human Rights for Pragmatists” by Jack Snyder (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2022)

Panel Discussion with: 

Professor Jack Snyder, Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations, 

Department of Political Science, Columbia University

Sheri Berman, Professor of Political Science, Barnard College

Alexander Cooley, Claire Tow Professor of Political Science, Barnard College

Aryeh Neier, Co-Founder, Human Rights Watch, Former Executive Director, ACLU,

President Emeritus, Open Society Foundations

Moderated by Anne Nelson, Author, Journalist, and Research Scholar, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies

Thursday, October 13, 2022
1512 International Affairs

CUID only. Advance registration required via the Columbia/SIPA events calendars.




About the Book

Jack Snyder’s Human Rights for Pragmatists: Social Power in Modern Times explores why human rights promoters have reached an impasse, despite the fact that they are among our most pressing issues of our day. While activists prioritize universal legal and moral norms, and bolster their efforts with the public shaming of violators, rights only prevail when they serve the interests of powerful local constituencies. Human Rights for Pragmatists ultimately demonstrates that where local power and politics lead, rights follow, and Jack Snyder presents an innovative roadmap for addressing a broad agenda of human rights concerns including, but not limited to, impunity for atrocities, dilemmas of free speech in the age of social media, and entrenched abuses of women’s rights.

Author Biography

Jack Snyder is the Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations in the political science department and the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. His books include Human Rights for Pragmatists: Social Power in Modern Times (Princeton University Press, 2022); Human Rights Futures (co-edited with Stephen Hopgood and Leslie Vinjamuri, Cambridge University Press, 2017); Ranking the World: Grading States as a Tool of Global Governance (co-editor with Alexander Cooley; Cambridge University Press, 2015); Power and Progress: International Politics in Transition (Routledge, 2012); Religion and International Relations Theory (Columbia, 2011); Electing to Fight: Why Emerging Democracies Go to War (MIT Press, 2005), co-authored with Edward D. Mansfield; From Voting to Violence: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict (Norton 2000); Myths of Empire: Domestic Politics and International Ambition (Cornell, 1991); and Civil Wars, Insecurity, and Intervention, co-editor with Barbara Walter (Columbia, 1999).

His articles on such topics as democratization and war, imperial overstretch, war crimes tribunals versus amnesties as strategies for preventing atrocities, and international relations theory after September 11 have appeared in The American Political Science Review, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, International Organization, International Security, and World Politics.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Snyder received a B.A. in government from Harvard University in 1973, a Certificate from Columbia’s Russian Institute in 1978, and a Ph.D. in political science from Columbia in 1981.