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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jason Mayerfeld
POL S 368
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 LSJ 320.

Class description

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

General method of instruction

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.

Recommended preparation

Texts: David Weissbrodt, et al., Selected International Human Rights Instruments; Geoffrey Robertson, Crimes Against Humanity; Jennifer Harbury, Truth, Torture, and the American Way; and a course packet containing relevant articles, cases, and treaties.

Class assignments and grading

Assignments: Midterm exam, final exam, research paper, and participation. Service learning students will write their research paper on an issue connected to the work of their organization.

Grading: Participation: 15 %; Midterm: 25 %; Final: 35 %; Research Paper: 25 %.


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: 07/17/2008