11.164 | Fall 2015 | Undergraduate, Graduate

Human Rights: At Home and Abroad



Course introduction

Introduction to human rights as a ‘system’ or ‘regime’ and the U.S.

BBC, The Why factor, “Why do we have human rights?”

2 What are human rights? History, philosophy and character of the rights discourse  
3 Key conceptual debates: Universality v. cultural relativism, public v. private, relativity of rights, liberal origins, individual v. community rights, civil v. human rights  
4 Sovereignty and self-determination?: The impact of North-South divisions, the West v. Rest  
5 Human rights at home: The struggle to enforce human rights in the U.S.  
6 Security v. human rights: Torture, assassinations and the War on Terror Guest Speaker: Prof. David Luban, Georgetown University
7 Economic development, globalization and poverty  
8 Gender, equality, and sexual minorities  
9 Ethnic, religious and racial violence and group rights Final paper topic due two days after Session 9
10 Forcible Intervention versus sovereignty  

Open class for discussion and / or a topic to be chosen by students

Conclusion and wrapping up

Final paper due a 1.5 weeks after last session