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Introduction to Human Rights: History and Practice

This course provides an introduction to the theory, the politics, and the social science of human rights and international security. We will examine how one can think about human rights as a product of history and how the language of human rights has evolved as a response to changing international dilemmas. We will explore historical human rights cases from around the world, including Latin America, Rwanda, and Bosnia, and through the lens of US foreign policy. Throughout the course, we will avoid a triumphal story of how contemporary Western morality came to dominate global discourse; rather, we will look carefully at the formal international legal regime that has evolved around human rights since World War II. We will examine how human rights have been deployed in social and political conflicts around the globe, and we will study how societies have approached justice when massive violations have occurred. At the end of the course, we will challenge assumptions about how human rights first arose as a global phenomenon and assess the conflicted legacy of human rights over the last several decades.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • A better practical and academic understanding of human rights history and discourse
  • An examination of the evolution of human rights work internationally

Ideal for

  • Those interested in human rights, international affairs, and history
  • Students and professionals involved in human rights work and international organizations
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.