College of Arts and Science
Human rights violations are widespread. The majority of of the world’s citizenry lives with inadequate civil and political and economic, social, and cultural rights, often with dire consequences on economic and human security. What caused this situation? And, moreover, what can be done to fix it? This course focuses on the social scientific study of human rights. We will focus on scientific explanations of the rise of the human rights movement, political and economic explanations for human rights conditions, and the effects of advocacy efforts concerning human rights. After this class, you will have not only an understanding of the major players and factors influencing human rights, but a base understanding of the social scientific processes which govern human rights conditions and improvements. As such, this class is not a history class or a class on current events. Though current and historical events will be discussed, your grade will not depend on your rote memorization of these events. Instead, the focus will be on understanding the underlying interests of important actors towards human rights, the arenas in which these actors interact, and the rules which govern their interactions. This focus on the basic principles will provide you with a rich practical knowledge of human rights. At the conclusion of the course, you will be able to actively engage with the global human rights community.