International Studies | Human Rights & Social Movements
I204 | 11294 | Woken, D.


This International Studies core course will explore several
overlapping topics.  One subject addressed will be the varied ways
that ideas about human rights are understood within different
cultures.  Another will be the way that styles of social activism and
the issues that bring people to the streets in anger have changed
over time and continue to differ around the world.  A third will be
the promise (and limits) of the United Nations as an arbiter of
disputes relating to human rights.  A fourth will be the complex
question of how different sorts of regimes and citizens within
different sort of states decide whether violent forms of protest are
ever justified.   We will explore these issues collectively by
reading books and articles on everything from struggles against
fascism in 1930s Spain, to the nature of feminism in the former
Soviet Union and other parts of Eastern Europe, to debates over human
rights in China.  We will also study together major documents, such
as the U.N.ís Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Guest speakers,
who will introduce the class to ways that the subjects of human
rights and social movements are dealt with in various disciplines,
will play an important role in the course.  So, too, will group
projects (designed to get small sets of students to focus in together
on issues of common interest) and films (shown in class to help
students get a sense of what protests look and sound like in other
parts of the world).