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CLASSICS 116: Human Rights in Comparative and Historical Perspective (CLASSICS 216, ETHICSOC 106, HUMRTS 106)

The course examines core human rights concepts and issues as they arise in a variety of contexts ranging from the ancient world to today. These issues include slavery, human trafficking, gender based violence, discrimination against marginalized groups, and how these and other issues are linked to war, internal conflict, and imperialism. We will consider the ways in which such issues emerge, are explicitly treated, or are ignored in a variety of historical and contemporary settings with a particular emphasis on the impact that war and conflict have on laws and norms that in principle aim to protect individuals from violence and exploitation. This inquiry also entails consideration of the modern notion of the universality of human rights based on a conception of a common humanity and how alien that concept is in states and communities that define or embody hierarchies that systematically exclude groups or populations from the protections and respect that other groups and individuals are more »
The course examines core human rights concepts and issues as they arise in a variety of contexts ranging from the ancient world to today. These issues include slavery, human trafficking, gender based violence, discrimination against marginalized groups, and how these and other issues are linked to war, internal conflict, and imperialism. We will consider the ways in which such issues emerge, are explicitly treated, or are ignored in a variety of historical and contemporary settings with a particular emphasis on the impact that war and conflict have on laws and norms that in principle aim to protect individuals from violence and exploitation. This inquiry also entails consideration of the modern notion of the universality of human rights based on a conception of a common humanity and how alien that concept is in states and communities that define or embody hierarchies that systematically exclude groups or populations from the protections and respect that other groups and individuals are afforded. Nowhere do the devastating consequences of such exclusions become clearer than in times of crisis and conflict. The course draws upon a variety of case studies from the Greco-Roman world and other temporal and geographical contexts to explore the political and social dynamics that shape and inform the violence inherent in such events.
Last offered: Winter 2023 | UG Reqs: WAY-ER, WAY-SI
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