Current Courses

The following is a list of Human Rights (HMRT) courses and cross-listed courses for the 2015-2016 school year. This list is subject to change:

>> Summer 2015
>> Autumn Quarter 2015
>> Winter Quarter 2016  
>> Spring Quarter 2016

Please check the Registrar Time Schedules for the most current information each quarter. The College Course Catalog contains a list of undergraduate Human Rights courses offered each year.


Summer Quarter 2015: Human Rights Courses
June 22 - July 10, 2015

Human Rights III: Contemporary Issues in Human Rights
HMRT 20300

Cross-listed: HIST 29303, LLSO 27200
Susan Gzesh, Senior Lecturer in the College; Executive Director, PFCHR
Mon/Tue/Thurs: 2:00–5:30pm
This three-week condensed course uses an interdisciplinary approach to analyze the application of international human rights to domestic and international issues.


Autumn Quarter 2015: 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, PFCHR
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).

Slavery Since Emancipation
HMRT 25110/35110

Kevin Bales, Pozen Visiting Professor; Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, University of Hull, UK
Tue/Thu: 10:30–11:50am
In this course we’ll explore the recent history of slavery as well as global slavery in the present moment. Too often those who are concerned about, and making policy on, issues of human trafficking and modern slavery do so with little understanding of its recent history or its current extent. The result is a shallow view and equally shallow policies. In fact, there has never been a day in human history, or in the history of the USA, without slavery. The volume or prevalance of slavery may change, as well as the types and forms of slavery, but slavery is a constant. A key aim of this course is to ground our understanding of slavery, and to learn how ‘historical’ cases and types of slavery help us to better understand the slavery around us today.

The Human Behind Human Rights
HMRT 29002

Cross-listed: Pending
Yaqub Hilal, Graduate Lecturer (Anthropology)
Mon/Wed: 10:30–11:50 am
The exhibition of ‘primitive’ peoples in European capitals began in the 1870s and continued well into the 20th Century. The exhibits drew in hundreds of thousands of spectators and were a considerable source of revenue for those who curated them. Today such zoos are illegal in Europe and most Europeans would be repulsed by the very idea of displaying human beings in this way. How do we explain this turnabout in European laws and attitudes? Why did it take so long for Europeans to realize that the non-Europeans put on display were, like themselves, human beings with human rights? If it is obvious to us, why was it not obvious to them? The following course considers what it means to be human and the rights and obligations this quality is supposed to confer. According to what criteria do we determine the humanity of another being or, rather, who gets to decide this criteria? Moreover, what are the implications of this humanity for the types of social relations and political institutions deemed desirable and /or achievable? The selected readings address these questions with a particular focus on liberal understandings of humans and human rights and the systems of knowledge production and power within which these are embedded.

Autumn Quarter 2015: Cross-Listed Courses

Please check the Registrar Time Schedules for a current list.


Winter Quarter 2016: Human Rights Courses

List will be updated as course information becomes availabile.

Winter Quarter 2016: Cross-Listed Courses

List will be updated as course information becomes availabile.


Spring Quarter 2016: Human Rights Courses

List will be updated as course information becomes availabile.

Spring Quarter 2016: Cross-Listed Courses

List will be updated as course information becomes availabile.