Announcing Human Rights Lab Spring Quarter Classes

By Beth Awano


This Spring 2022, undergraduate students have the chance to take THREE Human Rights Lab course that center the intersecting human rights crises of racialized policing and mass incarceration in the United States.

Read more about each course below. 

HMRT 22217, CHST 22217, CRES 21217. Reimagining Justice in the Chicago Police Torture Cases. 100 Units.

Alice Kim, Pozen Center, Director of Human Rights Practice 
Tue/Thu, 3:30-4:50pm
Consent required 

From 1972 to 1991, former Chicago police commander Jon Burge and white detectives under his command systematically tortured over 117 Black people in police custody. In May 2015, 43 years after the first known instance of torture, Chicago became the first municipality in the U.S. to provide reparations to those harmed by racially-motivated law enforcement violence, passing legislation for survivors of the Burge police torture regime. This course explores the evolution of decades of community activism and creative organizing undertaken in the Jon Burge torture cases. We will consider the following questions: What do these cases and the activism surrounding them reveal about policing and the criminal legal system? What role did torture survivors and those directly impacted by Burge torture play in struggles for justice? How can we reimagine systems of justice and accountability? How can society reckon with legacies of state violence and their ongoing impact in communities today?

HMRT 23275, HMRT 33275, MAAD 13275. #Justice: Race, Digital Media, & Human Rights Activism. 100 Units. 

Maria A Dikcis, Postdoctoral Researcher and Mass Incarceration & Policing Fellow, Pozen Family Center for Human Rights
Tue/Thu, 11:00am-12:20pm

How have digital media platforms influenced and motivated recent developments in human rights activism? Can literature, art, and film contribute to political debate and systemic change as much as on-the-ground protest? In this interdisciplinary seminar, we will explore a variety of ways that grassroots activists, writers, artists, and filmmakers have made inventive use of digital media to aid in political struggles for refugee rights, gender equality, environmental justice, police abolition, data protection and privacy, and an economy founded on fair labor practices. We will be especially attuned to how their practices advocate for communities of color and other marginalized groups, who are disproportionately impacted by regimes of surveillance, state violence, and capitalist expansion. In addition to resources and tools created by digital transparency activists, we will examine how cultural practitioners make political interventions and claims with literature, art, media, and other nontraditional forms of engagement. These cultural case studies will include films produced with iPhones and drones that document the global refugee crisis, digital poems concerning discrimination against immigrants, new media art installations that critique algorithm-driven predictive policing, and border-crossing robotic sculptures, among others.

SSAD 62100. Creating New Anchors: An Introduction to Prison Industrial Complex Abolition. 100 Units. 

Sharlyn Grace and Durrell Washington, Mass Incarceration BA Thesis Mentor, Pozen Family Center for Human Rights
Thu, 05:30pm-08:20pm

This intensive seminar will introduce and discuss prison abolition as both a long-term vision and a practical organizing strategy. We will explore the ways in which the criminal punishment system perpetuates a system of violence and fails to address harm and facilitate accountability. We will review examples of abolitionist strategies and movements. We will also examine the connections between abolitionist values and the social work profession's values and ethics. We will attempt to move beyond abolition as a theoretical framework but push to think of the tangible steps to move towards abolition as a praxis.