Spring 2013 Human Rights Course Offerings

Published on October, 26 2012 at 12:00am

The following is a list of the CLAS and Law School human rights classes that will be offered in Spring 2013. Take note: (1) HIST 5195/HRTS 5899 is taught by our visiting Gladstein professor, Carol Anderson, and (2) LAW 7878 is one of the core course for the grad certificate in human rights, all other courses listed are electives.


ANTH 5391: Human Rights in a Diverse World
Tu 12:30 - 3:15 pm
The first decade of the 21st century has seen important growth in anthropological research on human rights. Beyond the concern with cultural relativism with which the discipline has heretofore been associated, anthropologists today study a range of issues concerning the cross-culturally diverse social processes wherein rights consciousness spreads and rights claims are forwarded. These issues include: the interdependence of human rights; the relationship between human rights and economic and cultural globalization; the plurality of human rights approaches and how these relate to law; media and the politics of human rights representation; human rights' significance for social movements and transnational activist network formation.

GERM 6480: World Literature and Human Rights After 9/11
Cross-Listed with CLCS 5318

Mo 4:00 - 6:45 pm
This seminar explores the relationship between literature and human rights discourse in a comparative and historical fashion. While the focus will be on a variety of literary texts, the questions we ask will be of a general, phenomenological nature. We will investigate the engagement of literary texts with human rights discourse by considering how they might serve as "ethical laboratories" (Ricoeur), how literature might operate as a dynamic force in the political struggle for human rights, and how literary texts might appear as agents of resistance, opposition, and subversion in authoritarian contexts. How can literary texts exert political force? What are the political implications of literature's power to imagine counterfactuals? How is reading related to critical thinking? In addition to examining selected literary works in their historical contexts, we will also discuss the transhistorical power of literature insofar as literature often survives its immediate historical context and speaks to audiences beyond the limitations of time and space.

HIST 5195: Human Rights and American Exceptionalism
Cross-Listed with HRTS 5899

*Anderson (because Professor Carol Anderson is the visiting Gladstein Professor, she is not yet in peoplesoft and thus the class is listed as "staff")
Tu 1:00 - 4:00 pm
This research seminar will provide students the opportunity to produce a significant written work, either a chapter in their dissertation or a major conference paper, on the factors shaping the U.S. response in the 20th century to human rights, domestically and globally.  The course will explore foundational readings in American exceptionalism, the uses and misuses of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, the underlying reasons why the United States has been resistant to human rights in its domestic policies, and the ways that race, class, gender, and difference influence both the body politic and U.S. decisionmakers.

POLS 5010: Africana Dialogues
Cross-Listed with WGSS 5398

Tu 4:00 - 6:30 pm
This course explores how ideas of "Africa" and the "West" are historically situated within political imaginaries, theories, and practice.   By centering the intellectual tradition of Africana Studies, the course recasts disciplinary constructions of Africa within the interdisciplinary field formations of Area and Diaspora Studies, Critical Ethnic Studies, Cultural Studies, Feminist Studies, and Global Politics. Central to the course is the examination of transnational knowledge economies, which have simultaneously over and under represented Africa within contemporary U.S. and international politics. The course is designed for students who already have interests in Africa and the Diaspora, and for students interested in critical geopolitics, postcolonial theory, configurations of race, gender and sexuality, and popular culture.

SOCI 6605: Advanced Courses in Sociology/Readings in Human Rights
We 12:00 - 2:45 pm

This course offers a sociological perspective on human rights, with a specific emphasis on power inequalities, and people's struggles, successes and losses as they attempt to claim  human rights.  We will examine diverse human rights struggles across the world in order to understand how people have understood and claimed human rights differently as they built lives of human dignity.  We will pay particular attention to human rights struggles within the US, India, and South Africa.  We will read selections from the rapidly growing corpus of writings in these countries to extend our understanding of political, civil, economic, social and cultural human rights frames, claims, conflicts, and relative successes in a globally connected world.

Objectives: Develop a critical understanding of diverse current sociological literature on human rights. Develop a publishable quality paper on human rights.


LAW 7838: Constitutional Law, Advance: Individual Rights
We 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
This course exposes students to a broad array of materials and issues that bear directly on the nature and scope of individual liberty. The course begins by examining the conflicting demands of justice and neutrality as guiding principles for constitutional interpretation within the Fundamental Rights Debate. Through the study of case law relating to privacy, substantive due process, and equal protection, the courses examines the outer limits of the law, the history and development of legal theory, and its potential application to cutting edge issues. Issues of consent, bodily integrity, choice regarding intimate associations, gender, sexuality, racial classifications and privacy in the age of digital technology are viewed in light of past and future trends. Prerequisite: Constitutional Law, An Introduction (540).

LAW 7872:  Comparative Law: Latin American Law
We 3:30 - 6:30 pm
The course deals with constitutional law as well as with specific areas of private law, such as civil law, civil procedure, and business law. It first introduces the civil law tradition, as well as Latin American legal history. The discussion then shifts to constitutional law: to the notion of constitutionalism, to basic principles, to the vindication of rights, and to second and third generation entitlements. Thereafter the focus will be on civil law--i.e., civil codes, interpretation, codified sexism, and civil remedies--and on civil procedure--specifically on the conception of procedure in the region, on procedural guaranties, and on collective actions. The class closes with an exploration of corporate law south of the border.

LAW 7878:  International Human Rights
Mo We 9:00 - 10:30 am
This course analyzes the essence of human rights in comparison with other rights of citizens. Human rights shall be considered from the viewpoint of international regulation (the United Nations Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights), regulation in different parts of the world and in different countries (United States of America, western European countries, Russia and eastern European countries). Concrete cases of human rights violations and concrete means of protecting human rights will be discussed.

LAW 7883: Human Rights and Post Conflict Justice
We 2:00 - 5:00 pm
The aim of this course is to examine the law and politics of post-conflict justice institutions, from the Nuremberg Trials to truth commissions to the International Criminal Court.  How do domestic and international institutions deal with past human rights violations and provide justice and adequate redress for victims?  We begin by examining how the Nuremberg trials established the categories of crimes against humanity and individual criminal responsibility in international law.  During the Cold War, these advances in international justice were frozen as many successor governments passed amnesty laws in the wake of internal armed conflicts.  In the absence of retributive justice, new institutions such as truth commissions were established to promote reconciliation and to provide an official account of the violations of the past.  We evaluate the efforts of truth and reconciliation commissions in South Africa and Latin America to document the violations of the authoritarian era. In the 1990s, new international tribunals were established and we examine the politics and case law of UN-sponsored International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, as well as hybrid tribunals such as the Special Court for Sierra Leone.  Finally, we end with a discussion of the work of the International Criminal Court, established by international treaty in 2002.