Database: Human Rights Courses, Spring 2018

January 5, 2018

IGA 227 - Insurgents, Terrorists, and Violence: Causes and Consequences of Civil War

Faculty: Dara Kay Cohen

Why do civil wars begin? What motivates the members of armed groups, including rebel groups and terrorist organizations? When and how do civil wars end? What are the social and economic consequences of war? In this course, we will consider major questions about civil war, terrorism, and the use of violence by armed groups. We begin with a review of theoretical constructs, then turn to a series of debates drawn from recent research on the causes of civil wars, how insurgent and terrorist groups are organized, the dynamics of violence during wars, and the ways that wars are terminated.



IGA 347 - Human Rights and National Security: The Case of Torture

Faculty: Douglas Johnson and Alberto Mora

The course explores in depth how the use of torture became both strategy and policy in Washington. Through that prism, it asks and challenges students to explore deeper political, legal, constitutional, and ethical questions about how a strong, well-institutionalized, democratic political system could violate its own laws and the international conventions to which it has subscribed. We will look broadly at US national security and how it was affected by the decision to deploy cruel interrogation methods and torture as part of the "war on terrorism."



DEV 375 - The Informal Economy: Is Formalization the Answer?

Faculty: Martha Chen

The course begins with an overview of the historical debates, recent rethinking, and current evidence on the informal economy, including its size, composition, causes, and consequences. Special attention is given to the conditions and perspectives of the working poor in the informal economy, especially in the context of the recent economic crisis and current modernization of cities. 


MLD 377 - Organizing: People, Power, Change

Faculty: Marshall Ganz

In this course, students accept responsibility for organizing a "constituency" to achieve an outcome by the end of the semester. Students learn as reflective practitioners of leadership of their campaign: building relationships committed to common purpose; turning value into motivated action through narrative; strategizing to turn resources into the power to achieve outcomes; taking effective action; and structuring leadership collaboratively.


IGA 220 - The Politics and Ethics of the Use of Force

Faculty: J. Bryan Hehir

The course is focused on the morality of war in world politics. The primary analytical lens is the classical 'Just-War' ethic, viewed from a historical and contemporary perspective. The ethic is tested by the tradition of non-violence and by the nature of modern warfare. Three major strategic challenges are examined: the nuclear age, decisions about humanitarian military intervention and terrorism. Changes in modern warfare (in terms of agents and in terms of weaponry), run through the course.


IGA 121 - Religion and World Politics: Connections and Collisions

Faculty: J. Bryan Hehir

The course examines the role of religion in world politics today. The assessment is made historically and analytically, drawing upon theories of international relations and the contemporary debate about ?the resurgence of religion? in world politics. The impact of the resurgence is tested in terms of religiously based positions on four moral questions (war, human rights, globalization and world order). The impact of religion is then examined in selected instances of political-religious engagement in different parts of the world.

IGA 388 - Nonviolent Resistance in the Age of Authoritarians

Faculty: Douglas Johnson

This course will combine the study of historical non-violent struggles for social justice with a look at the conditions current resistance faces from today's elected authoritarian systems and personalities. Using the processes of design thinking, students will workshop alternative approaches to challenge authoritarian projects in the U.S., Venezuela, Hungary, Russia, the Philippines, Turkey, and other 'illiberal democracies.' Learning methods will include case-studies, discussion of insights and frameworks from the rich literature on social movements and non-violent action, debate exercises, simulation and role-play, peer-to-peer consulting and in class discussion of student projects. Students will work in pairs or small groups on a particular challenge and will present their strategic nonviolent approach in class. 


DPI 253 - Killing and Letting Die in Public Policy: From A(bortion) to W(ar)

Faculty: Frances Kamm

This course will consider moral arguments for and against killing and letting die in various public policy contexts. Topics that may be considered are abortion and embryo destruction, assisted suicide and euthanasia, capital punishment, climate control, gun control and police action, prevention and treatment in health care, terrorism and war. 


DPI 802M - The Arts of Communication

Faculty: Timothy McCarthy

Today's leaders must have an ability not only to analyze thoughtfully but also to communicate clearly and persuasively. This module will seek to strengthen the capacity of each student to speak well in public settings. Approximately one-half of the module will be devoted to classes that introduce students to strategies of communication. The other half will consist of smaller workshops in which students will hone their speaking skills, including the development and analysis of both their presentations and their sense of presence, and their handling of stressful situations in which they must manage themselves well. The B section will focus entirely on global human rights issues and advocacy.


DPI 235 - Economic Justice

Faculty: Christopher Robichaud

DPI-235 investigates the intersection of political morality and economic policy. Recent worldwide attention on wealth and income inequality has sparked renewed interest in thinking seriously about what economic justice demands. This course provides students with an opportunity to tackle this issue head-on and to explore it with rigor and sophistication. Our discussions will wed empirical findings with theory, always with an eye toward policy implications.


IGA 165M - Corporate Responsibility and New Governance Models

Faculty: John Ruggie and Jane Nelson

This module provides an overview of corporate responsibility (CSR) and responsible investment, focusing on today's interplay between large corporations and governments, intergovernmental institutions, investors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).


HLS 2355: Animal Law

Faculty: Kristen Stilt


This course will introduce students to the broad range of laws that affect non-human animals ('animals;), including companion animals, farm animals (with a particular focus on factory farms), animals used in the context of entertainment (such as zoos and aquaria), animals used in scientific experimentation, and wild animals. The course will also engage with fundamental questions about animals and the law, such as: Are some animals more deserving of protection than others, and if so, on what basis? What role does culture and belief play in animal law? Why are dogs considered pets in the U.S. and food in some parts of the world, for example? Does the status of animals as property pose an insurmountable barrier to increasing protections for animals? What are the advantages and disadvantages of the concepts of 'animal rights' and 'animal welfare'?


EDU A166 - Civic Education and Civic Action: Theory, Research, and Practice

Faculty: Helen Haste

The course will address the following questions: How should we define the terms "civic engagement," "civic action," and "civic education"? What educational objectives are implied by these definitions? What personal, community, and educational experiences and social, cultural, political, and educational contexts promote or inhibit the development of active civic participation? How might we construct effective civic education programs, within and beyond the school, and by what criteria can we evaluate their effectiveness?


HLS1016: Human Rights and International Law

Faculty: Gerald Neuman

This course examines critically what it means to embody human rights conceptions in law at the international level, and how human rights law can be implemented through cooperation among national and international institutions. Topics will include the historical origins of modern human rights law; background international law rules that structure human rights law; connections between civil, political, social, and economic rights; comparative discussion of some specific human rights; and global and regional methods of oversight and enforcement. The course will pay particular attention to the UN Human Rights Committee and to the relationship between the United States and the international human rights system.


HLS 2296: International Humanitarian Law/Laws of War

Faculty: Naz Modirzadeh

The law of war is one of the oldest branches of international law, but whether its centuries-old norms align with modern conflicts remains a contested area of legal practice and interpretation. This course will explore the primary branch of international law applicable to situations of armed conflict, often referred to as international humanitarian law (IHL) or the law of armed conflict (LOAC). 


HLS 2202: Poverty, Human Rights, and Development

Faculty: Lucie White

This course uses a multidisciplinary lens to explore the linkages between global poverty, human rights, and development from an historical, theoretical, institutional, and policy-making perspective. Its departure point is the emergence of a recent "human rights and development" trend, both in academia and policy, as a result of the combined failure of development economics and the human rights movement to effectively address the challenge of global poverty and inequality.


HLS 2873: Religion and Human Rights: Judaism as a Test Case

Faculty: Ayelet Libson

This seminar explores the relationship between religion and human rights in two ways. The first part of the seminar examines biblical and early Jewish ideas that served as a foundation for the development of human rights, and discusses the significance of the theological background from which human rights emerged. The second part will explore contemporary points of conflict between human rights and religion, focusing in particular on concepts of membership and gender and how they are negotiated within the Jewish tradition.


HLS 2540: Reproductive Rights and Practices

Faculty: Carol Sanger

This course examines a range of reproductive rights and reproductive practices, focusing on the relation between the two. The course will address the interests of various stakeholders in human reproduction, connecting those interests to contemporary and historical policies such as pro-natalism, population control, individual autonomy, and what is sometimes identified as respect for human life. 


SES 5372 - Planning for Climate Change: Scarcity, Abundance, and the Idea of the Future

Faculty: Abby Spinak

Climate change presents a range of complex challenges for urban planning and design. This class will explore the conditions planners face in response to the material and social impacts of climate-impacted places - sea level rise, extreme weather events, intensified conflicts over water rights, climate refugees, loss of livelihoods and other economic stressors, to name a few - as well as ask what responsibility rests on our shoulders to use the tools of planning and design to mitigate climate change?


SES 5432 - International Humanitarian Response

Faculty: Stephanie Kayden and Daniel Maxwell

This course offers practical training in the complex issues and field skills needed to engage in humanitarian work. Students will gain familiarity with the concepts and international standards for humanitarian response. While providing a solid theoretical foundation, the course will focus on practical skills such as conducting rapid assessments, ensuring field security, and interacting with aid agencies, the military, and the media during humanitarian crises. The course culminates in a required three-day intensive humanitarian crisis field simulation during 27-29 April 2018. Students will camp for two nights in the forest as part of an aid agency team responding to a simulated international disaster and conflict. 


SOC-STD 98ND - Justice and Reconciliation after Mass Violence

Faculty: Jonathan Hansen

This seminar examines the problem of justice and reconciliation after mass violence: how does a nation sundered by genocide, civil war, or gross human rights violations reestablish the social trust and civic consciousness required of individual and collective flourishing? What is the proper balance between individual and collective responsibility? What is the role of apology (or confession) and amnesty in civil reconciliation? How do specific types of mass violence influence outcomes? What makes some reconciliations successful, others less so? 


HLS 2592: The Frontiers of Civil Rights Enforcement

Faculty: Patrick David Lopez

The Civil Rights Act of 1964, growing out of a sweeping grassroots civil roots movement was one of most important pieces of legislation passed in American history. At the time of passage, it was called a "Magna Carta of Human Rights" and during its first fifty years it produced enormous changes in legal doctrine, the workplace, and society. These changes in the legal landscape include disparate impact doctrine aimed at systemic racial discrimination, hostile work environment, religious accommodation, and gender stereotyping. This seminar will examine, from a practitioners perspective, how social change, evolving ideas of race and gender, globalization, global conflict, and technology will shape the development of this Act (and notions of equality) over the next fifty-years and the legal strategies to navigate this terrain.