Course No.

HR / SST 101


Introduction to Human Rights


Thomas Keenan


Mon Wed 3:00 pm 4:20 pm OLIN 205

PIE Core Course

An intensive introduction to contemporary discussions of human rights in a broad historical and theoretical context. We will examine the philosophical background of these contested categories, "human" and "right," and explore the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic dimensions of claims made in these terms. What are humans and what count as rights, if any? Where does the idea come from? We will ask about the foundations of rights claims; about legal and violent ways of advancing, defending and enforcing them; about the documents and institutions of the human rights movement; and about the questionable 'reality' of human rights in our world. Is there such a thing as "our" world? We will look at debates over the universality of rights, over humanitarian intervention and war crimes, over the limited or illimited character of rights, over terrorism and democracy, and over the links between rights and globalization, among other topics. Using contemporary news media sources, including screenings and the Internet, we will examine some difficult cases and troubled places, including our own. Readings from J.-J. Rousseau and Immanuel Kant, Nuruddin Farah and Hannah Arendt, David Rieff and Michael Ignatieff, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union.






Course No.

HR / PS 248


Women and International Human Rights


Janet Benshoof


Mon Wed 11:30 am 12:50 pm OLIN 101

Cross-listed: Gender Studies, Political Studies

Traditional human rights activists have largely ignored the cultural, religious, political, and economic conditions that impede women from becoming part of civil societies and equal political players. The failure to address the root causes of women's political inequality means that equality efforts hit a "glass ceiling." This in turn impedes both democracy and international human rights movements. This course will analyze the unique problems of women in the developing world and study feminist strategies to address those issues including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). We will explore how this treaty mandates a legal vision of women's equality that surpasses any current legal protections in the US constitution or laws. And to the extent that poverty is an issue across the board for the developing world, the course will show how other factors (such as religion) operate to exclude and affect women in a very gender specific ways. Readings are drawn from scholars including Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, and case studies in successful feminist legal strategies for implementing CEDAW and other international legal instruments and procedures.


Courses cross-listed in Human Rights:

ANTH 332 Cultural Technologies of Memory

ECON 115 Economic Dimensions of World Issues

ECON 352 Seminar in Law and Economics

FILM 231 Documentary Workshop

HIST 190 The Cold War

HIST 2101 States/Subjects/Human Rights in Latin America

HIST 2122 The Arab-Israeli Conflict

HIST 3112 Plague!

HIST 3311 Women Write the Globe

LIT 3203 Doctors and Writers

LIT 358 Exile and Estrangement in Modern Fiction

LIT 3692 Catastrophe of Knowledge

PHIL 256 Environmental Ethics

PHIL 357 Law and Ethics

PS 130 Chinese Politics

PS 214 US Latin American Relations

PS 239 The United Nations and Model UN

PS 248 Women and International Human Rights

PS 311 Immigration and Citizenship

PS 376 Politics of Terror

SOC 120 Inequality in America

SOC 205 Introduction to Research Methods

SOC 242 Historical Sociology of Punishment

SPAN 423 Literature of the Conquest

SST 111 The Question Race

SST 220 Marxism and Radical Social Theory

SST 305 Latina/o Cultural Polemics

SST 332 The Ecological Crisis