Spring 2024 Human Rights UN3940 section 001

History of Human Rights

Call Number 14862
Day & Time
TR 1:10pm-2:25pm
303 Uris Hall
Points 3
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Glenn Mitoma
Method of Instruction In-Person
Course Description

This course provides students with an introduction to the history of human rights as a compelling, contested, and dynamic constellation of discourses, structures, and practices.  As a framework for articulating and pursuing justice at local, national, and global levels, human rights in the 21st century draw on the diverse histories of social movements, moral philosophy, legal institutions, and political maneuvers across the modern period.  Claimed most frequently when their violation is most egregious, the history of human rights is also a history of wrongs, with the changing nature and scope of oppression serving to provoke different kinds of human rights struggles.  Often invoked as timeless and universal standards, the history of human rights demonstrates their basic malleability, both in terms of which rights are recognized and who qualifies as human, and their fundamental contingency, both in terms of the precariousness of any human rights ‘victory’ and their potential for co-optation in the interests of power.  Finally, while this course is primarily concerned with the history of human rights, we will also consider the human rights of history, reflecting on the role of history and historical consciousness in the pursuit for justice. 

Learning Outcomes

Aligned with the critical, historical, and integrative grounding of the course, the objectives for student learning encompass areas of knowledge, skills, and values.  They include:

  • Students will analyze the change over time of human rights discourses, institutions, practices.
  • Students will analyze the continuities and discontinuities between historic and contemporary forms of human rights.
  • Students will develop knowledge and understanding of various strategies for promoting human rights deployed by historic actors.
  • Students will develop knowledge and understanding of the role of history and historical consciousness in contemporary efforts to secure human rights.
  • Students will develop their capacity for empathy across difference.
  • Students will orient their own values in relation to the dynamic principles of human rights.
Web Site Vergil
Department Institute for Study of Human Rights
Enrollment 56 students (65 max) as of 3:06PM Saturday, July 20, 2024
Subject Human Rights
Number UN3940
Section 001
Division Interfaculty
Section key 20241HRTS3940W001