Fall 2014 CLAS, School of Social Work, and Law School Courses

Published on April, 7 2014 at 12:00am

The following is a list of the CLAS and Law School human rights classes that will be offered in Fall 2014. Take note: HRTS 5301 is one of the core courses for the grad certificate in human rights, all other courses listed are electives.

CLAS Courses

HRTS 5301 Contemporary Debates in Human Rights
W 10:10AM-1:10PM
This is the core course for the Graduate Certificate in Human Rights and it introduces students to the central human rights debates of the day. These change over time and so does the content of the course. We start with discussions that are centuries old, beginning with the Kantian view that humans hold universal natural rights by virtue of their ability to reason. We consider Hobbesian foundations for rights based in social contract theory and ideas of security. We then move on to the Marxist critique of human rights and then consider the culturalist critiques of rights of the late twentieth century. Collective rights have re-emerged in the late twentieth century and we evaluate their impact and their future potential. The course also addresses concrete questions of women’s rights, children’s rights and the right to health. Ultimately its aim is to enhance your capacity to state clearly which political-philosophical formulations of rights you chose to defend, and which you will not defend.


ANTH 5305 The “Value of Life” in Global Markets: Technologies for Profit and Population Control
Tu 3:30-6:15PM
This graduate seminar addresses the growing literature coming from interdisciplinary dialogues among medical anthropology, science and technology studies, philosophy, critical political economy and post-structuralism to understand the transformation of the “value of life”. Both value and life are italicized to signify that it is in those two domains where different disciplines are making significant contributions to our understanding of how everyday life is being transformed by forces such as the global markets of new biotechnologies. But “value of life” is presented in quotes to help us think about how the dynamicity of those two concepts working together offers an entry point for anthropological inquiry. The first part of the seminar will concentrate on foundational theories of value from the classic Marxist critique of political economy to discussions about new forms of capital accumulation (such as dispossession) or new expressions of traditional forms of capital accumulation (such as the current financial crisis and preventive wars). The course will also offer foundational readings that aim to define human life and its limits, followed by discussions about how life is being redefined and how new forms of life are emerging. The second part of the seminar will examine literature that connects life and value from different perspectives. We will discuss how “life value” can take material forms (as in postgenomics), legal forms (as in patents or treatises), symbolic forms (as in the alteration of cultural representations of acceptability) or moral forms (as differential value systems influence and are influenced by public policy). We will identify themes that connect value and life in anthropology.


ANTH 5315 Gender and Culture
M 10:00AM-12:45PM
‘Gender’ refers to the cultural construction of male and female. As such, gender is a symbolic system that is both socially enacted and historically dynamic. Taking the perspective that gender constructions are dialectically related to social arrangements and historical developments, this class examines different theoretical approaches to the ethnographic particularities of gender systems, both Western and non-Western, ancient and modern. Topics include: the philosophical and religious roots of modern Western gender ideology; varieties of essentialism in Western thought; Euro-American conceptualizations of the female body and the female reproductive process; the 'status of women' question; cross-cultural variations in the perception and elaboration of 'male' and 'female'; 'pollution' systems, taboos, 'danger' beliefs, and sexual segregation in selected indigenous societies; scholarly theories of gender separation customs and gender reversals; and the production of gender norms through communal rituals, particularly initiation rites.

GERM 6480 Deutschland -Afrika(nerInnen)
von Hammerstein
W 4:00-7:00PM
German-speaking and African countries and populations have a long history of intercultural exchanges, often in the context of asymmetric power relations. Germany and Austria participated in the colonial(ist) discourse along with other European cultures since the Enlightenment. In the late nineteenth century Germany established colonies in Togo, Cameroon, German East Africa (today’s Tanzania, Ruanda, Burundi) and German Southwest Africa (today’s Namibia) and lost them in the context of WWI. Germans have lived in various parts of Africa and people of African decent have lived in German-speaking countries. Over the centuries, the exchanges between them have manifested themselves in cultural – literary, artistic, photographic, and cinematographic – productions.

Applying postcolonial and other theories, we will discuss concepts ranging from racism (including intersections of racism and white feminism), human rights, and genocide to transnationalism, intercultural and interracial contact zones, and the imperial gaze. We will investigate how the corresponding discourses are represented in select German-language texts of the Enlightenment, nineteenth century, colonial era around 1900, 1920s, Nazi era, “Besatzungszeit” (post-WWII US occupation of Germany) and since the 1980s. Select films will complement and enrich our discussions.

German-speaking students from Human Rights, Women's Studies, Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, History, African Studies, and other departments are welcome.

POLS 5322 Assessing Human Security
W 1:30-4:00PM
Examination of emerging conceptions of human security, important elements of which include good governance, food, water, political, economic, and environmental security.  Definition, measurement, and politics of human security.  Relationship to domestic and international policy-making and advocacy.

SOCI 5895 Contemporary Development
Th 3:30-6:30PM
In this seminar we will examine the history of International Development as theory and praxis, from modernization to its current formulation as a rights based discourse in the era of neoliberal globalization.  Along the way we will study how race, gender, indigeniety, sexuality, and disability became embedded in its re-imaginings and the current, critical struggles around and against development, post-development, rights and justice.

School of Social Work Course

SWEL 5385 Human Rights and Social Work
F 9:00AM-5PM, meeting on 9/5, 10/3, 11/7, and 12/5
This course provides the theoretical, conceptual, and practical foundation for social workers to engage in a human rights-based approach to policy, community organizing and clinical practice. Students gain an understanding of the international human rights system, social work’s contribution to achieving human rights, and how international human rights principles can be applied to practice in the United States or other countries. Cases are drawn from varied countries, including the United States, to examine how social workers and other professionals working in social development and human services fields can advocate for and respect human rights in their work.

Law Courses

LAW 7609-01: Clinic: Asylum and Human Rights
Tu 2:00-5:00PM
Students in this clinical program represent persons seeking political asylum in the United States. Asylum is available to individuals who can establish a well founded fear of persecution if returned to their home countries. Students exercise primary responsibility for all aspects of the asylum process, including proceedings in the Asylum Office of the Department of Homeland Security and hearings before Immigration judges. Students interview and counsel clients and investigate the facts supporting their claims, research human rights conditions in the client's home country, prepare supporting documentation and a brief in support of the asylum application, and represent clients at hearings and in related matters. Classroom seminars focus on the substantive and procedural law, both international and domestic, relevant to asylum claims, the lawyering skills that students will utilize in their cases, and the discussion of legal, tactical, and ethical issues that arise in the context of the casework. This is a one semester clinic, but students have the opportunity to continue their work in subsequent semesters through Advanced Clinic Fieldwork.

LAW 7672 Immigration Law
M 6:30-9:15PM
This course will provide a basic understanding of the issues and principles upon which U.S. immigration law is based as well as the policies underlying those principles.  It will examine the legal and social aspects of this administrative agency-based field including visas, detention, exclusion, deportation, relief from deportation, judicial review, and citizenship by birth and naturalization.  It will also expose students to the interplay of complex statutes and regulations, policy and ethics issues, international law, human rights law and constitutional law.  It is about outsiders and therefore is a key part of the study of civil rights.

LAW 7679 International Law
M/W 9:30-11:00AM
This course is a study of the rules and adjudication of international law. Topics include customary international law, treaties, general principles of law and equity, the adjudication of international law by international courts, domestic courts, and international arbitration.

LAW 7838 Advanced Constitutional Law: Individual Rights
W 9:30AM-12:30PM
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).