Database: Human Rights Classes, Fall 2017

August 19, 2017

The Carr Center has compiled a database of some of the most exciting and challenging human rights courses on offer across Harvard graduate schools for the Fall 2017 & J-Term 2018 semesters: 


EDU A816 – Education in Armed Conflict

This course examines the multidimensional and multidirectional relationships between armed conflict and education. How can education contribute to the work of building "lasting peace" in settings of armed conflict globally? How does education reflect inequalities and reinforce social tensions? How does it contribute to stability and reconciliation? What role does it play in shaping individual and collective imaginings of a post-conflict future? Through critical reading of theoretical texts and case studies, engagement with guest speakers, simulations, and other learning tools, we will adopt an action-oriented approach to investigation of these and other questions. We will look beyond the provision of schooling to the learning and teaching that takes place in schools and community settings, and examine the relationships that are at the core of these educational interactions. Central to discussions will be connections between public policy, daily experiences, and social justice. The course includes a semester-long project through which students will deepen their research, writing, and policy analysis skills, and explore the intellectual and practical dimensions of connecting research, policy, and practice. Open to all students with an interest in settings of armed conflict or comparative education generally.


GHP 262 – Emerging Issues in Humanitarian Response and Human Rights

The course will provide an introduction to frameworks and constructs that form the foundation for understanding and engaging in humanitarian and human rights research and action. The course will also examine emerging critical challenges to Humanitarian Response and Human Rights Protection that have multi-dimensional global impacts. These issues include armed conflict, social oppression, climate change, famine, migration, ethnic and other forms of discrimination, and gender-based violence. The major options of protection and support, including early warning and prevention and mitigation strategies, will be analyzed through case studies and discussion of current research findings, through the various lenses of the norms, actors and processes of international humanitarian and human rights law, operations and policy.


GHP 288 – Issues in Health and Human Rights

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the application of the human rights framework to a wide range of critical areas of public health. Through lectures, cases and guest speakers, students will become familiar with the human rights perspective as applied to selected public health policies, programs and interventions. The course clarifies how human rights approaches complement and differ from those of bioethics and public health ethics. Among the issues to be considered from a human rights perspective are the bioethics, torture prevention and treatment, infectious diseases, violence prevention and responses, genetic manipulation, access to affordable drugs, community-based health management and financing, child labor, aging, and tobacco control.


HDS 2632 – Justice, Human Rights, and Religion

This seminar focuses on the relation between different conceptions of justice and different conceptions of human rights. At the same it will deal with some current criticisms of human rights and the relation between human rights and religion, especially Christianity. Special attention will be given to the work of Farmer, Rawls, Habermas, Sen & Nussbaum, Sandel, Derrida, Butler, Fraser, Young, Wolterstorff, Cohen, and Buchanan. It will seek to show how:a conception of human rights relates to religion within the framework of a discourse ethics. 


IGA 103 – Global Governance

This course focuses on the interplay among states, international organizations, multinational corporations, civil society organizations, and activist networks in global governance. Cases are drawn from a broad range of issue areas, including economic relations, human rights, peace and security, and the environment. The objective is to better understand the dynamics and evolution of formal and informal global governance arrangements and what difference they make, in light of globalization and emerging geopolitical changes.


IGA 107M – Global Justice

This class will use a global justice approach to help us explore and address practical policy questions. A global justice approach stresses accountability, fairness, and political and economic equality of both opportunity and outcome. In this module, we will consider the multiple meanings of global justice, and use case studies to examine specific issues, from chronic malnourishment to gender violence, in terms of these different understandings of justice. Using what Amartya Sen calls a realization-focused comparative approach? we will scrutinize global policies to try to arrive at some agreement on the injustice of certain practices or outcomes relative to others. On justice as accountability, we will examine the increasing practices of holding both state and non-state actors accountable for violations of core human rights. We will explore different forms of inequality as a key form of injustice, including economic, racial, and gender inequality. We will ask about the justice implications of an increase in equality among countries, as with the economic and political rise of countries such as China, India, and Brazil, when it is accompanied by an increase of economic inequality within countries. Because the course is a module, it will provide more of a gateway or introduction to the topic that could later be deepened through other courses at HKS.


IGA 145M – Human Security: People-Centered Global Policy

Human Security is a people-centered concept, where protecting human well-being is the direct goal of policy. This class will explore the major global threats to human security, including mass atrocities, poverty, environmental degradation, and public health crises, and some of the most promising policy solutions to these human security threats. Some of these human security threats are well known, like genocide, and others are hidden, like the millions of missing women in the world. We will contrast the human security concept with that of national security. When policymakers and academics speak about security, they mainly refer to national security and efforts to make states more secure from external and internal threats. The primary and understandable justification for national security is that individuals need to live in secure states in order to flourish. But national security doctrines and practices sometime make human beings less secure, especially when states justify human rights violations of citizens and non-citizens in the name of protecting the security of states. The concept of human security will be used to helps gauge the importance of the major issues on the global policy agenda in terms of their actual impact on human lives.


IGA 237M – Future Issues in Cyber Policy

Rapid advances in ubiquitous sensors, machine learning, autonomous systems, and robotics will profoundly change society, and will affect many of our core values: liberty, fairness, privacy, transparency, free speech, and so on. These changes will be reflected throughout government; current laws and policies are largely ill-equipped to handle this technological future. in areas like crime and prosecution, labor and employment, human rights, international relations, and armed conflict. Over the course of six two-hour discussion sessions, this seminar will explore the social changes that will result from these technological changes, try to anticipate legislative and regulatory issues that will arise, and come up with future (and future-proof) policies to address them.


IGA 342M – Human Rights Dilemmas in Child Protection

A growing number of children and adolescents around the world are subjected to violence, exploitation and other forms of abuse. These harms persist despite the proliferation of international norms and structures designed to protect this population and promote its wellbeing. In many cases global transformations exacerbate rather than reduce the risks of abuse and increase the protection challenges these risks give rise to. Though each category of child protection deficit has its own characteristics and its attendant normative framework, they all share common and definable elements. These commonalities reflect key structures of the society in which the harms occur: growing income inequality and poverty; natural or man-made disasters of unprecedented destruction; a failure to move beyond concerns relating to basic child survival and attend to core child protection concerns. The study of how societies address their child protection obligations, including the normative framework, advance planning and policy and practice initiatives undertaken, reveals a series of profound and unresolved dilemmas that go to their self-definition as global players. An investigation of the human rights dilemmas that arise in child protection on a global scale presents, in a microcosm, a perspective on the social and political dynamics affecting some of the world's most vulnerable populations. The perspective of this course is twofold. One focus is on the child protection issues themselves, their genesis and impact. The other is on the human rights strategies and dilemmas relevant to those (at both the individual and societal level) charged with responding to rights violations affecting children and fulfilling public child protection obligations.


IGA 305M – The Human Rights of Children and Youth as Citizens, Migrants, and Refugees

Children and young people inhabit an increasingly complex set of environments which expose them to both unprecedented opportunity and grave risk. Progress in advancing basic social and economic rights has greatly improved global access to primary education and primary health care, increasing child survival and access to essential skills, though serious inequalities based on gender, race and other forms of discrimination persist. Mass technology now links children in remote communities to unreachable but seemingly proximate consumer and cultural products, enhancing the lure and dangers of opportunity elsewhere. Migration, conflict and climate change together with growing social inequality have major impacts on the quality of life, future prospects and rights violations confronting young people - including split families, irregular migration status, prolonged displacement, experiences of stigma and exposure to trauma. The consequences include smuggling, trafficking, sexual exploitation and undocumented status. This course will explore legal and other strategies for understanding and advancing the human rights of children and young people as citizens, migrants and refugees.


IGA 385 – Strategizing for Human Rights: Moving from Ideals to Practice

Violence and social injustices abound in the world. How do we make a difference? This class will apply the concepts of strategizing to today’s human rights struggles, examining cases of successful efforts to learn key principles and applying them to live and unsettled cases. Over the last decades, the human rights movement has emphasized the development of international treaties to define ideals as legal norms, created international institutions and instruments to encourage those norms to be implemented, and built local, national, and transnational civil society organizations to bring attention to the gap between norms and reality. Yet many believe that the global situation is getting worse, not better, and that we have reached the end times of human rights.? Committing our professional futures to human rights struggle requires not only moral commitment but also the sense that we are being effective and strategic in our approaches to change making. We will study how to think strategically and apply that thinking to cases that are still active arenas of conflict over ideals of justice and the realities of power imbalance, where the risks of failure are both present and of serious consequence. We will explore social science research that is useful to the leadership task of strategizing, broaden our understanding of available tactics, use tactical mapping and other strategizing tools to construct alternative scenarios to resolve an active human rights struggle, and apply analytic frameworks that help us think through the acceptable balance between risk and success in making social change.


IGA 422 – Global Food Politics and Policy

This course reviews the policy landscape around food and farming in rich and poor countries. This is a highly contested landscape, with scientists, commercial farmers, agribusiness and food companies, environmentalists, consumer organizations, and social justice advocates often holding sharply different views. Policy actions by national governments usually drive the system, together with the behavior of international organizations, private companies, NGOs, social entrepreneurs, and humanitarian relief agencies. Understanding the economic and institutional foundation beneath these actions is key to effective public policymaking. Food markets can be global, but agricultural circumstances are highly localized and can differ dramatically between rich and poor countries. The poor still rely on low-resource farming systems not well supported by public policy, while most rich countries benefit from highly capitalized agricultural sectors that receive generous subsidies from government. Nutrition circumstances differ as well, as persistent hunger is still a deadly challenge in many tropical countries, while in rich countries (particularly the United States) excessive food consumption and obesity are now a more prominent diet-linked threat to health. The environmental impact of different farming and livestock systems, and different dietary patterns, will be explored and debated. Fish farming and wild catch fisheries will be examined. Attention will also be paid to policies that address consumer choice, food safety, genetically modified foods, and animal welfare. Course requirements will include a decision memo, op-ed style essays, and participation in briefs or debates in class.


* J - TERM 2018 *

DPI-540M Combating Corruption Internationally

In this module students will examine the causes and consequences of grand corruption - the abuse of public office for personal profit by a nation's leaders - and means of combatting it. Existing efforts to combat grand corruption, such as the United Nation's Convention Against Corruption, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development Convention on Combatting Bribery, and the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act will be evaluated. International efforts to strengthen the capacity of various countries to combat corruption, such as the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala ("CICIG") and the European Union requirements for prospective members including Ukraine, will also be studied. In addition, initiatives to promote the extraterritorial prosecution of grand corruption, such as applying principles of universal jurisdiction to grand corruption and the creation of an International Anti-Corruption Court, will be explored. 


IGA-218M Inclusive Security

Here is an unusual opportunity to break open the traditional concept of security and tackle an array of leadership skills while examining the little-understood structure of women's critical role in preventing or stopping violent conflict. Working in groups, you'll formulate concrete policy recommendations for women's full inclusion in formal and informal peace processes. The course bridges theory and practice, providing students close interaction with inspiring women leaders from conflicts worldwide. In addition, you'll receive individual classroom coaching to develop nuanced presentation skills.



IGA-367M Preventing Mass Atrocities: The Security Council and the International Criminal Court

The establishment of the permanent International Criminal Court (“ICC”) by the Rome Statute was an unprecedented development in international politics and in international law. This course will explore the origins, functioning and effectiveness of the ICC, with particular emphasis on its interactions with the UN Security Council. In only 13 years, the system established by the Rome Statute was set in motion. States parties have been financing the operations of the Court, cooperating with investigations, protecting witnesses and executing arrest warrants. Overall, the Court opened investigations in ten different situations, indicted 39 people including three heads of state and concluded its first trials. In addition, without changing the UN Charter, the Rome Statute system has contributed to development of international law by the UN Security Council. The Court’s intervention was imposed in Darfur and Libya but there was no agreement to do the same in relation to Palestine or Syria.  This course will first provide a brief introduction into international law on the use of force, international criminal law and to the politics of the United Nations Security Council. It will explore the emergence of doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (“R2P”) and its impact on the emerging Security Council action in these cases. The course will use a series of cases simulate discussions involving the students on international political and legal developments. It will explore unresolved crisis like Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Palestine.





IGA-380M Human Rights Advocacy Using Video, Social Media, and Participatory Media

Aided by the spread in low-cost, high-quality technologies, video and moving image media are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and multi-form (even though a considerable digital divide exists in terms of access, literacy, and skills both within and between societies across the globe); video will soon be part of every communications and advocacy strategy. Increasing moving image creation, usage and literacy defines much of the experience of a connected younger generation, particularly in the Global North and within certain sectors of Global South society. Use of video, including particularly mobile video, has publicized and documented many emerging human rights struggles from Yangon, to Oakland, to Tehran, and most recently the 'Arab Spring', 'Occupy' and "Black Lives Matter" movements, and characterizes many vibrant citizen media spaces that fill niches long ignored or abandoned by the mainstream media. However, strategic, directed, impact-driven use of video remains under-utilized as an intervention by either NGOs or citizen networks in human rights spaces including treaty monitoring systems, legislative debates, lobbying of decision makers, and community organizing. Many human rights actors do not yet have the skills, connections, or experience to organize, aggregate, or coordinate others' audiovisual media including citizen media content in spaces like YouTube, create their own targeted advocacy media for specific audiences, collaborate to develop compelling material with professional or citizen storytellers, or to link their strategic use of video to new participatory technologies that enhance creation, distribution, and debate, such as mobile, social media, data visualization, mapping, and Web 2.0 tools. A range of new storytelling formats such as virtual reality and immersive live video provide new opportunities for engagement. Policy advocates encounter new challenges as they consider how citizen media and technology usage for activism is enabled or curtailed by government policy and adhoc decisions, by the emergence of system-level manipulation and ‘fake news’ problems, and by the actions of private sector actors such as mobile and online service providers. This course, taught by a leading practitioner of using video, social media, and participatory technologies for human rights advocacy, will combine a focus on practical advocacy skills for using video, as well as social media (particularly as it relates to video) and other networked/participatory media with analytical discussion, expert guest speakers, exercises, and review of topline emerging trends and overarching policy questions.