Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Human Rights Theory and Practice

Van Tuyl, P. (PI)
Section Number
This course will introduce students to the philosophical and historical foundations for the modern concept of human rights, as well as the international and domestic legal frameworks currently in force to protect and promote these rights. Students will learn about the broad landscape of institutions responsible for defining and enforcing human rights from scholars who study the institutions, and practitioners who have worked inside them. Throughout the quarter we will read and discuss critical scholarship about the gap between the promises and aspirations of international human rights covenants, and the ongoing realities of widespread oppression, exploitation, and atrocity happening around the world. We will welcome practitioners as well as guest faculty from departments across the university whose teaching and research touches on aspects of human rights within their respective fields of expertise. Throughout the course, we will explore how distinct perspectives, assumptions, and vocabulary of particular disciplinary communities affect the way scholars and practitioners trained in these fields approach, understand, and employ human rights concepts. HUMRTS 101 fulfills the gateway course requirement for the Minor in Human Rights, and is offered once per year, winter quarter. No prior knowledge or formal human rights education is required of students enrolling in this introductory course. Students of all years and majors are welcome to join. Students should enroll in Section 01 of the course for in-person instruction Tu/Th 2:45-4:45pm. Enrollment in Section 02 is available only by special consent of the instructor, for students with special circumstances who need to complete HUMRTS 101 for the Minor, but cannot regularly attend the class in person as scheduled for Section 01. Students enrolled in Section 02 will complete identical curriculum, and will engage with classmates from Section 02 on a single Canvas site, but will have asynchronous and remote scheduling options for lectures. These same asynchronous and remote options can also be made available to Section 01 students (if/when needed, at discrete times throughout the quarter) in the event of COVID-related disruptions to class (e.g. instructor illness, student quarantine).
Letter or Credit/No Credit
Course Tags
Academic Year
Section Days
Tuesday Thursday
Start Time
2:45 PM
End Time
4:45 PM
Lathrop 299