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POL 180 — International Human Rights: Strategies, Struggles, and the Quest for Dignity

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Sep 28—Nov 16
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 11
Unit: 1
Tuition: $400
Instructor(s): Anupma Kulkarni
On-campus course
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 28—Nov 16
8 weeks
Drop By
Oct 11
1 Unit
Anupma Kulkarni
The advancement of human rights globally is an epic narrative of strategic innovation, visionary leadership, popular collective action, technological change, and institutional development. The struggle side of the story includes elite resistance, interest protection, high politics, conflict, and, in many cases, the unrestrained application of raw power and brutal force. From the early social movements to eliminate slavery and human trafficking through contemporary struggles for the right to privacy and Internet freedom, the tension among these varied forces and motivations has shaped an imperfect, but ever-evolving, system of rights, principles, and norms guided by the firm conviction that human dignity ought to be valued and protected.

This course is an introduction to key strategies and struggles that have contributed to the body of law, institutions, and practices that are associated with international human rights. Through the lenses of historic and contemporary cases, we will examine why particular strategies succeed or fail, and how individuals and groups manage to achieve reform, often against substantial odds. We will also reflect upon the challenges facing local, national, and transnational activism toward consolidating historic achievements while traversing new terrain in a changing world.

Anupma Kulkarni, Fellow, Stanford Center on International Conflict and Negotiation; Co-Director, West Africa Transitional Justice Project

Anupma Kulkarni specializes in transitional justice, the ways in which post-war and post-authoritarian societies address matters of memory and accountability for human rights violations as part of the larger project of bringing about democratic change and reconciliation. She is co-directing a cross-national study on the impact of truth commissions and international criminal tribunals from the perspective of victims of human rights violations in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Adam Hochschild, Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire’s Slaves (ISBN 978-0618619078)
(Required) Samantha Powers, A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (ISBN 978-0465061518)
(Required) Rebecca MacKinnon, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom (ISBN 978-0465063758)
(Required) Zeynep Tufekci, Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest (ISBN 978-0300215120)