Current Courses

The following is a list of Human Rights (HMRT) courses and cross-listed courses that the PFCHR plans to offer for the 2014-2015 school year. This list is subject to change. Please check the Registrar time schedules for the most up to date information each quarter.

Autumn Quarter 2014 courses
Winter Quarter 2015 courses
Spring Quarter 2015 courses

Please also check the Course Catalog for a list of Human Rights minor requirements and courses offered annually.


Autumn Quarter 2014: Human Rights Courses

Human Rights III: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights
HMRT 20300/30300

Cross-listed: HIST 29303/39303, INRE 31800, LAWS 78201, LLSO 27200
Susan Gzesh, Senior Lecturer in the College; Executive Director, Pozen Family Center for Human Rights
Mon/Wed: 3:00–4:20pm
This course uses an interdisciplinary approach to analyze the application of international human rights to domestic and international issues. We present several specific case studies as a means to explore the interrelationship of human rights instruments and agencies, principles such as universalism v. cultural relativism, and the role of NGOs, film and other media in advocacy efforts. Topics will include the prohibition on torture at home and abroad, women’s rights as human rights, cultural relativism vs. universalism, and the right to health.  Students will have a mid-term paper which will lead to their final paper on a topic of their choosing.

Foundations of Human Rights
HMRT 30600

Cross-listed: HIST 67102, MAPS 30700, PHIL 31620, PLSC 31700
Adam Etinson, Lecturer in Human Rights, PFCHR; Visiting Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Tue/Thu: 1:30-2:50pm
Note: graduate students only
This seminar will provide graduate students with an advanced introduction to the study of human rights, covering key debates in history, law, philosophy, political science, international relations, social science, and critical theory. As a graduate seminar, this will be a small class (capped at 20 students), and a strong emphasis will be placed on in-class discussion and debate. The course will examine cutting-edge research on topics including: the origins of human rights (Section I); the concept of human dignity (Section II); the nature and grounds of human rights (Section III); the relationship between human rights morality and law (Section IV); the legality and morality of humanitarian intervention (Section V); the feasibility and claimability of human rights (Section VI); contemporary criticisms of human rights (Section VII); human rights and the accommodation of diversity (Section VIII); and the future of human rights (Section IX).

Perpetrators, Victims, & Bystanders:  Justice after Mass Atrocities
HMRT 29505/39505

Eric Stover, Pozen Visiting Professor in Human Rights; Faculty Director of the Human Rights Center and Adjunct Professor of Law and Public Health, University of California at Berkeley
Mon/Wed: 1:30-2:50pm
This seminar will use an interdisciplinary lens to examine how war, genocide, and terrorism have affected survivors, as well as the social and psychological factors that turn ordinary men and women into perpetrators. We will study the ways in which historians, psychologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, journalists, and jurists have contributed to our understanding of wartime atrocities and their effects on individuals and society from the Holocaust to post 9/11.

Artists Look at Women and War
HMRT 29506/39506

Cross-listed: GNSE 29506/39506
Pamela Blotner, Visiting Lecturer; Visiting Professor, St. Mary’s College
Mon/Wed: 9:00-10:20am
Throughout history, women have played a number of roles in wartime.  Female warriors like Boudica, the Celtic queen who made war on Nero’s Rome and the female Ashanti army of ancient Africa have become legends. Florence Nightingale and countless other women went to the battlefront as nurses, translators, and spies.  Women have often been victims of war crimes.  Among them are the thousands of Asian women forced to be “comfort women” to Japanese troops during WWII, and the Bosnian women interred in “rape camps” during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.  More recently American women have become full-fledged members of their armed forces, serving for the first time on the battlefield. 
This cross-disciplinary course will use an historical lens to examine how artists have portrayed women in wartime, and how those portrayals have evolved over time. We will discuss whether or not visual art can serve as an advocacy tool and a deterrent to war and the crimes committed against women.  The course will include a practicum component in which students will produce a final creative work, either in visual art or writing, about an issue to which they are especially drawn.

Autumn 2014 Cross-Listed Courses

Anthropology of Disability (MAPS 36900)
ANTH 20405/30405, CHDV 30405, HMRT 25210/35210, SOSC 36900
Morris Fred, Senior Lecturer, Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences
Thurs: 3:00–6:00pm
This seminar undertakes to explore “disability” from an anthropological perspective that recognizes it as a socially constructed concept with implications for our understanding of fundamental issues about culture, society, and individual differences. We explore a wide range of theoretical, legal, ethical, and policy issues as they relate to the experiences of persons with disabilities, their families, and advocates. The final project is a presentation on the fieldwork.

Documentary Production I (CMST 23930/33930)
ARTV 23930/33930, HMRT 25106/35106
Judy Hoffman, Senior Lecturer, Departments of Cinema and Media Studies and Visual Arts
Wed/Fri: 10:30am–1:20pm
This class is intended to develop skills in documentary production so that students may apply for the course with Kartemquin Films in the co-production of a documentary video that will take place over winter and spring quarters.  Introduction to Documentary Production focuses on the making of independent documentary video.  Examples of various styles of documentary will be screened and discussed.  Issues embedded in the documentary genre, such as the ethics and politics of representation and the shifting lines between fact and fiction will be explored.  Pre-production methodologies, production, and post-production techniques will be taught.  Students will be expected to develop an idea for a documentary video, crews will be formed, and each crew will produce a five-minute documentary.  Students will also be expected to purchase and external hard drive.


Winter Quarter 2015: Human Rights Courses

Human Rights II: History and Theory (HMRT 20200/30200)
Cross-listed: CRES 29302, HIST 29302, HIST 39302, INRE 31700, LAWS 41301, LLSO 27100
Michael Geyer, Samuel N. Harper Professor of German and European History and the College
Tue/Thu: 10:30-11:50am
This course is concerned with the theory and the historical evolution of the modern human rights regime. It discusses the emergence of a modern “human rights” culture as a product of the formation and expansion of the system of nation-states and the concurrent rise of value-driven social mobilizations. It proceeds to discuss human rights in two prevailing modalities. First, it explores rights as protection of the body and personhood and the modern, Western notion of individualism. Second, it inquires into rights as they affect groups (e.g., ethnicities and, potentially, transnational corporations) or states.

Human Rights: Alien and Citizen (HMRT 24701/34701)
Cross-listed: LACS 25303, LAWS 62401
Susan Gzesh, Senior Lecturer in the College; Executive Director, PFCHR
Mon/Wed: 1:30-2:50pm
This course addresses how international human rights doctrines, conventions, and mechanisms can be used to understand the situation of the “alien” (or foreigner) who has left his or her country of origin to work, seek safe haven, or simply reside in another country. If human rights are universal, human rights are not lost merely by crossing a border. We use an interdisciplinary approach to study concepts of citizenship and statelessness, as well as the human rights of refugees and migratory workers.

Human Dignity (HMRT 26150/36150)
Cross listed: INRE 36150; LAWS 78203; PHIL 21625/31625
Adam Etinson, Lecturer in Human Rights, PFCHR; Visiting Assistant Professor, Philosophy
Tue: 3:00-5:50pm
This advanced undergraduate course will examine the notion of human dignity, with a special eye towards its role in contemporary human rights discourse. The course begins by tracing the historical development of the idea of human dignity both in philosophy and in law, and from there it moves on to examine contemporary usages. Questions to be examined include the following: What is the meaning of "human dignity"? Is it basic to morality? What is the relationship between human dignity and human rights? Does respect for human dignity require the abolition of capital punishment and/or the permission of assisted suicide, among other practices? Is it an inherently religious idea? What grounding might it have in secular ethics?

Health and Human Rights (HMRT 21400/31400)
Cross-listed: MEDC 60405
Dr. Renslow Sherer, Professor, Department of Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Global Health
Dr. Evan Lyon, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Hospital Medicine
Mon/Wed: 10:30-11:50am
This course attempts to define health and health care in the context of human rights theory and practice. Does a “right to health” include a “right to health care"? We delineate health care financing in the United States and compare these systems with those of other nations. We explore specific issues of health and medical practice as they interface in areas of global conflict: torture, landmines, and poverty. Readings and discussions explore social determinants of health: housing, educational institutions, employment, and the fraying of social safety nets. We study vulnerable populations: foster children, refugees, and the mentally ill. Lastly, does a right to health include a right to pharmaceuticals? What does the big business of drug research and marketing mean for our own country and the world?

Human Rights in (Post)Conflict Settings (HMRT 22004)
Cross-listed: ANTH 25245; CHDV 26253; PBPL 22004
Erin McFee, Graduate Lecturer, PFCHR
Jonah Rubin, Graduate Lecturer, PFCHR
Tue/Thu: 10:30-11:50am
This course is designed to introduce students to the specific human rights issues that come into play in the wake of authoritarian regimes, civil wars, and other violent conflicts. Over the course of the quarter, students will learn about the specific legal mechanisms governments, international agencies, and NGOs use to address the challenges of (post)conflict peacebuilding, debate the goals and best practices for addressing human rights after violent conflict, and evaluate the application of such policies from different perspectives, including those of the state, victims, ex-combatants, and the dead. Students will apply these lessons through policy and analytic papers and presentations for a case study of their choosing.

Winter 2015 Cross-Listed Courses

Documentary Production II (CMST 23931/33931)
Cross-listed: ARTV 23931/33931, HMRT 25107/35107
Judy Hoffman, Senior Lecturer, Departments of Cinema and Media Studies and Visual Arts
Wed/Fri: 10:30am-1:20pm
This course focuses on the shaping and crafting of a nonfiction video. Students are expected to write a treatment detailing their project. Production techniques focus on the handheld camera versus tripod, interviewing and microphone placement, and lighting for the interview. Postproduction covers finishing techniques. Students then screen final projects in a public space.

After Evil (INST 20412)
Cross-listed: HMRT 20412, PLSC 20412
Rohit Goel, Graduate Lecturer; Preceptor, PFCHR
Mon: 1:30-4:20pm
This course will analyze understandings of justice in “post-conflict” societies. We will critically examine the theoretical literature on “transitional justice” to investigate how, after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, scholars and citizens alike have relegated evil to the past, permanently deferred justice to the future, and framed the present as a time between wrong and right. The class will investigate the political effects—on nationalism, sovereignty, and citizenship—of the dominant, post-Cold War discourse of human rights through a variety of cases, including post-war America, Germany, South Africa, Yugoslavia, and Lebanon. The course will be structured by a detailed reading of Robert Meister’s recent work, After Evil: A Politics of Human Rights (2010).  A series of secondary readings drawn from disciplines such as political theory, history, philosophy, jurisprudence, and theology will augment the exposition of the core text. This course will enable students to think critically about the uniquely post-Cold War temporality of evil and justice, when evil’s end, far from precipitating justice, postpones it indefinitely.

The Right to the City in Latin America (LACS 26615)
Cross-listed: HMRT 26615
Emilion de Antunano Villarreal
Tue/Thurs: 10:30-11:50am
This course will explore one simple, yet crucial, question: Have twentieth-century Latin America cities constituted spaces of emancipation and inclusion or spaces of political and social exclusion? At the heart of this question lies the paradox of millions of people consistently and willingly migrating into cities often characterized by gross inequality, poverty, and political oppression. Dealing with these matters asks for an understanding of several historical processes–global and rural-urban migration, urbanization, and demographic growth–that have transformed Latin American societies from rural communities into urban ones. But answering the normative side of the question additionally demands an understanding of the historicity of political concepts such as citizenship, equality, democracy, and human rights, without which we cannot make a reckoning of twentieth-century Latin American cities.

When Cultures Collide (ANTH 45600)
Cross-listed: CHDV 45600, HMRT 35600, PSYC 45300, GNSE 45600
Richard Schweder, Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Human Development
Wed: 9:30am-12:20pm
Coming to terms with diversity in an increasingly multicultural world has become one of the most pressing public policy projects for liberal democracies in the early 21st century. One way to come to terms with diversity is to try to understand the scope and limits of toleration for variety at different national sites where immigration from foreign lands has complicated the cultural landscape. This seminar examines a series of legal and moral questions about the proper response to norm conflict between mainstream populations and cultural minority groups (including old and new immigrants), with special reference to court cases that have arisen in the recent history of the United States.
Advanced undergraduates may enroll with permission from instructor.

Advanced Legal Research: Foreign and International Law (LAWS 79803)
Cross-listed: HMRT 39803
Lyonette Louis-Jacques, Lecturer in Law
Thurs: 9:45-11:45am
See instructor or department website for course description.

International Human Rights Law (LAWS 96101)
Cross-listed: HMRT 37700, PLSC 56101
Thomas Ginsburg, Leo Spitz Professor of International Law and Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago
Mon/Wed/Thurs: 1:30-2:35pm
See instructor or department website for course description.


Spring Quarter 2015: Human Rights Courses

List coming soon

Spring Quarter 2015 Cross-Listed Courses

List coming soon