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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Angelina Snodgrass Godoy
LSJ 490
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Comparative Legal Institutions

Focused, comparative examination of legal institutions.

Class description

Description. Violence, Human Rights, & Democracy in Latin America While Latin America’s much-touted transition to democracy has harkened many positive developments in terms of human rights, it has also introduced new challenges, many of which invite us to reexamine existing assumptions about the relationship between democracy and human rights. This course focuses on various contemporary challenges to human rights in the region, including the lingering legacies of past violations and ongoing forms of human rights abuse. Because today’s abuses occur within the context of democracy, they may fall outside the scope of traditional approaches to human rights. Yet their persistence is encouraging many observers to reconceptualize rights and democracy, taking into account shifting historical patterns of violence in an attempt to formulate a more effective response. What is the relationship between democracy in the political sphere and the effective enjoyment of human rights by citizens? How should post authoritarian societies handle the often-competing demands for justice and accountability, and forgiveness and reconciliation? How does the globalization’s shifting of national sovereignties affect human rights work, which traditionally targets nation states? To what extent are social and economic rights intertwined with civil and political rights, and how does state policy in Latin America (and US foreign policy toward Latin America) promote, or prevent, the full enjoyment of each? In a region recently emerging from a series of civil wars in which states unleashed brutal, at times genocidal, repression against internal enemies, do the contemporary wars on terrorism and drugs — both of them fought increasingly at the US behest on Latin American soil — threaten a return to the politics of the past?

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

This course focuses on exploring these and other questions in the Latin American context. A minimal familiarity with Latin American human rights history is assumed.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


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.
Additional Information
Last Update by Suman C. Chhabra
Date: 11/13/2002