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LAWGEN 115N: Human Rights Advocacy

What are the origins of the human rights movement and where is it headed? What does it mean to be a human rights activist? What are the main challenges and dilemmas facing those engaged in human rights advocacy? In the space of seven decades, human rights advocates have transformed a marginal utopian ideal into a central element of global discussion, if not practice. In this seminar we will examine the actors and organizations behind this remarkable development as well as the vast challenges faced by advocates in the recent past and today. Together, we will learn to be critical of, as well as to think, and act, like human rights advocates. This seminar will introduce you to some the main debates and dilemmas within the human rights movement. We will consider and understand the differing agendas of western international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) and their counterparts in the frequently non-western) developing world, as well as tensions between and among rights advocates alon more »
What are the origins of the human rights movement and where is it headed? What does it mean to be a human rights activist? What are the main challenges and dilemmas facing those engaged in human rights advocacy? In the space of seven decades, human rights advocates have transformed a marginal utopian ideal into a central element of global discussion, if not practice. In this seminar we will examine the actors and organizations behind this remarkable development as well as the vast challenges faced by advocates in the recent past and today. Together, we will learn to be critical of, as well as to think, and act, like human rights advocates. This seminar will introduce you to some the main debates and dilemmas within the human rights movement. We will consider and understand the differing agendas of western international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) and their counterparts in the frequently non-western) developing world, as well as tensions between and among rights advocates along other important dimensions (civil and political vs. economic, social and cultural rights; rights promotion through engagement of powerful actors vs. challenging structures of power, etc.). The seminar seeks to develop your ability: 1) to understand human rights and social justice issues as contested political, legal and cultural phenomena; 2) to review advocacy texts, videos and other interventions critically; 3) to appreciate the political dimensions of efforts to promote human rights; 4) to understand how recent history constrains and structures options and possibilities for social intervention to promote rights and justice. During the course of the quarter you will be required to submit several short reflection papers and develop a human rights advocacy campaign.
Terms: Aut | Units: 3 | Grading: Letter or Credit/No Credit
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