Human Rights (HUMR)
This graduate course imparts an advanced understanding of the political, historical, and philosophical foundations of the concept of “human rights”. Emphasis is given to key scholarly interpretations of how human rights emerged in the political context, along with contending justifications for human dignity and human rights. Students examine the place of human rights in the political order and wrestle with questions over what qualifies as a human rights issue.
This course imparts an understanding of the foundations and influence of the modern, post-WWII human rights consensus, or “regime.” Beginning with an overview of key turning points in 20th-century history, the course examines how the human rights consensus emerged alongside the solidification of U.S. hegemony. The course introduces the major agreements, actors, and institutions comprising and enforcing this international consensus, considers the historical and current impact of the international consensus on human rights, and evaluates prominent scholarly critiques of the international human rights regime.
This course delineates the functions of civil society (including the church), government, and international actors and institutions when it comes to protecting human rights and enforcing compliance with human rights standards. Case studies are used to illustrate the comparative advantages of various actors and institutions in addressing human rights issues and violations, as well as the strategies these actors and institutions can employ to harness their own relative strengths in the context of human rights. Special emphasis is given to exploring the reach and limits of human rights campaigning and advocacy.