January 04, 2012

New edition of human rights textbook available

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Readers inside and outside the world of academia embraced Elisabeth Reichert’s textbook about human rights several years ago, leading her to write a new, substantially revised version.

Southern Illinois University Carbondale faculty member Reichert’s  “Social Work and Human Rights, Second Edition:  A Foundation for Policy and Practice” is now available through Columbia University Press.   The book highlights the ways in which social work protects the rights of the people.  The second edition features an increased focus on social and economic rights and a bit less on political rights, Reichert said. 

Utilizing a combination of analysis, classroom exercises and narrative, Reichert discusses human rights and how politics, the economy and other factors play a role.  Also cited is how various documents guarantee rights and privileges both in the United States and other nations. 

The second edition likewise touches on the changing human rights picture since the publication of the first edition in 2006.  The additions include discussion of the 2000 Millennium Declaration, a plan by the United Nations to reduce poverty and misery throughout the world.  A longtime proponent of increased exposure to social rights issues, Reichert said although she crafted the work as a textbook, the topic and style of the book are relevant and of interest to anyone.

For information about ordering the 280-page textbook or either of the other two volumes of Reichert’s that Columbia prints, look online at http://cup.columbia.edu and search for Reichert.

Reichert earned her doctorate in health education (1989) and her master’s in social work (1985) at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  She also holds a master’s in social work (1983) from Fachhochschule fuer Sozialwesen in Mannheim, Germany, and earned a 1983-1985 Fulbright Scholarship. 

A professor of social work at SIU Carbondale, she joined the faculty in 1994.  She teaches graduate and undergraduate social work courses on social work policy and practice with an emphasis on human rights and international social work.  She also teaches intersession seminars in Germany on human rights and social work with students from around the United States participating.

Reichert’s publications include a number of other books including “”Challenges in Human Rights:  A Social Work Perspective,” “Understanding Human Rights: An Exercise Book,” along with numerous articles in professional journals.