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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
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Sep 27—Nov 15
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 10
Unit: 1
Tuition: $405
Instructor(s): Anupma Kulkarni
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 27—Nov 15
8 weeks
Drop By
Oct 10
1 Unit
Anupma Kulkarni
The advancement of human rights globally is an epic narrative of strategic innovation, visionary leadership, collective action, technological change, and institutional development. From the early social movements to eliminate slavery through contemporary struggles to protect refugees and ensure gender equality, internet freedom, and the right to privacy, the tension among varied forces 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 movements that have forged the body of law, institutions, and practices 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 have achieved reform, often against substantial odds. The course will delve into the intellectual foundations of human rights, the movements to abolish slavery, torture, and genocide, and the creation of protections for vulnerable populations, such as refugees. We will also probe the workings and effectiveness of the system of institutions established to ensure human rights protections for individuals and groups. In the final weeks, we will focus on emerging rights challenges shaped by changing technologies, social norms, and political forces, including the right to privacy, internet freedom, and democracy.

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

Anupma Kulkarni specializes in the ways in which post-conflict societies address matters of accountability for human rights violations as part of the process of bringing about democratic change. Her research examines the impact of truth commissions, war crimes tribunals, and reconciliation policies.

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)