MAAS-524 Human Rights Law in the Middle East
Spring for 2014-2015
The main focus of this course is to explore the interface between international human rights concepts, themes and biases and contemporary conflicts and debates in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Students will become conversant in international human rights theory and practice and the main contestations in the field. Students will also study key human rights instruments in the Arab and Muslim worlds and their relationships to international norms.
Students will be encouraged to critically reflect on the international system, human rights and their relevance to socio-economic, political, security, and environmental
challenges in the region today. The course will draw on international relations, political science, anthropology, and social movement disciplines to contextualize
– and problematize -- human rights issues. In addition to exploring substantive issues, students will study examples of human rights advocacy to understand the
possibilities and limitations to human rights practice, especially in the MENA.
Discussion questions will include: Are international human rights truly universal? What traditions shaped the law and its practice? How have Arab and Muslim attempts to carve out exceptions to international principles impacted rights protection in the region? Can states shield themselves from international scrutiny with claims of sovereignty? Do human rights offer an antidote to authoritarianism,
sectarianism and/or extremism? Which human rights principles are most relevant to the development of public policy in the MENA? What tools are available to civil society to promote human rights? When is international intervention warranted, for what purposes, and in which ways? In a region that is producing the most refugees, what human rights can the displaced claim? Do Israeli and Palestinian rights conflict? What are the obligations of non-state actors?
Students will have the opportunity to apply their knowledge through group
assignments and case studies. Active class participation is required.
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: