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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

James A. Chamberlain
LSJ 320
Seattle Campus

The Politics and Law of International Human Rights

Studies the international human rights movement in its legal and political context. Focuses on institutions which influence, enable, and constrain the international promotion of human rights. Offered: jointly with POL S 368.

Class description

This course examines the emergence and development, since World War II, of an international movement dedicated to the promotion of human rights. We will study the goals of the movement and the global political context in which it operates. Special attention will be given to the legal institutions, national and international, which have influenced its evolution and character. Students taking the course will acquire an enhanced understanding of the role in human rights politics played by the United Nations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, international customary law, treaty law, regional courts, and international tribunals. Students will also be responsible for writing a research paper on some aspect of human rights. This is a service learning course. Students have the option of fulfilling part of the course requirements by working with a human rights organization. Please note that the service learning option is voluntary.

Student learning goals

Understand the political and legal mechanisms involved in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Evaluate the effectiveness of, and obstacles to the protection of human rights.

Understand the theoretical foundations of, and controversies surrounding, human rights.

General method of instruction


Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Participation: 15 % Midterm: 25 % Final: 35 % Research Paper: 25 %. Service learning students will write their research paper on an issue connected to the work of their organization.

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by James A. Chamberlain
Date: 11/01/2013