The History of Human Rights in US Foreign Policy

This course examines US foreign policy through the prism of human rights, exploring how humanitarian concerns became woven into the fabric of traditional security studies and how this does or does not affect current policy. We survey the most important literature and debates concerning the concepts of human rights and the US national interest. We also use case studies to explore the intersection of human rights, economic aims, strategic concerns, and peacebuilding. In addition, we will test the consistency of US guiding principles, the influence of nonstate actors on policy formation, and the strength of the international human rights regime. Ultimately, the course will challenge assumptions about how human rights first arose as a global phenomenon and assess the conflicted legacy of human rights in US foreign policy over the last several decades and in current policy.

More details

You'll Walk Away with

  • An understanding of how human rights arose in US foreign policy
  • Knowledge of how rights are expressed in international relations
  • The tools to consider the effect of changing administrations on human rights policies
  • Skills to investigate case studies for understanding larger policy implications

Ideal for

  • Students seeking insight into human rights in US history and recent policy
  • Critical thinkers who like writing about and discussing historical and current events
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.