A precarious equilibrium – Q&A with Umberto Tulli

Posted by Alice Hoad - Wednesday, 1 Apr 2020


How would you like someone who has read your book to sum it up in one sentence?

A comprehensive assessment of how human rights emerged in American foreign policy, shaped it, and intertwined with the Cold War and bipolar détente.

What book in your field has inspired you the most?

M. Del Pero’s The Eccentric Realist, Henry Kissinger and the Shaping of American Foreign Policy (Cornell University Press, 2009), S. Moyn’s The Last Utopia. Human Rights in History (Harvard University Press, 2010) and S.B. Snyder’s Human Rights Activism and the End of the Cold War (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

Did your research take you to any unexpected places?

Yes, to the archives of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne and to the Center for Jewish History of New York.

Which writing process do you use (computer, longhand, dictate, other)?


Why did you choose to publish with MUP?

Mostly for the reputation of the Key Studies in Diplomacy series.

What are you working on now?

The EEC and the human rights breakthrough of the 1970s and 1980s. The aim of the research is twofold. First, it aims at understanding whether the EEC (its Member States, supranational institutions, and some ‘transnational players’ with strong links to the EEC played a major role for the emergence of human rights. Second, it wants to study whether the global surge for human rights shaped and modified European integration.

If you could go back and give yourself once piece of advice when starting out on this project, what would it be?

Learn German. There are so many German books and articles that could enrich my research.

What other genres do you enjoy reading?

Mostly crime novels.

Which authors (academic and not) would you invite to a dinner party?

Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll and Carlo Collodi: I grew up reading their books.



A precarious equilibrium: Human rights and détente in Jimmy Carter’s Soviet policy by Umberto Tulli is available to buy now.

Umberto Tulli is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Teaching Fellow School of International Studies and Department of Humanities at the University of Trento



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