GOVT-406 Human Rights/International Relations
Spring for 2017-2018
The most powerful idea of the twentieth century—an idea that instantiates a watershed in international politics far more fundamental and transformative than the Treaty of Westphalia—is the following moral claim:

All persons everywhere have basic and universal human rights;

Thus, “we” (members of the human community) are obligated to find ways to within not only at the national, but also at the international level to devise guarantees for basic and universal human rights. Since World War II, the international community has instantiated the norm that an essential moral obligation of the society of states is to promote, protect, and extend Human Rights. Morally, this obligation to uphold human rights ought to trump, delimits, authorize and/or orient the exercise of so-called “state sovereignty.”

The syllabus includes classic texts on human rights as well as contemporary literature on human rights in world politics. We study: key international human rights documents; content of rights claims; international strategies for human rights protection and advocacy, and implementation; and predictable challenges in international efforts to do so. In their presentations, students explore the ways various international actors work to support human rights, aid those whose rights have been violated, and shine the international spotlight on violators and their egregious acts.

[N.B. For Government Majors, this course may satisfy an International Relations or a Political Theory requirement.]
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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