POL S 398
Intensive and advanced studies in various aspects of political science. Open only to participants in the departmental Honors program.
Description. In this seminar we will study the efforts of selected political theorists to think through the meaning and realization of human rights. A recurrent theme will be the identification of those norms, practices, and institutions--at both the domestic and international levels--that provide human rights their strongest protection. Topics for discussion will include: the relevance of democracy to human rights; human rights as a support or obstacle to peace; the place of human rights in wartime; the challenge of global poverty; and the moral adequacy of existing global institutions.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Text. Readings will be drawn from the following. (This list may be pared down.) Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan; John Locke, Second Treatise of Government and Letter Concerning Toleration; Immanuel Kant, "Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Intent," "On the Proverb: That May Be True in Theory, But Is of No Practical Use," "Perpetual Peace"; Hannah Arendt, The Decline of the Nation-state and the End of the Rights of Man," "Civil Disobedience," On Violence; Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars; Thomas Pogge, World Poverty and Human Rights.
Class assignments and grading
Requirements. Students will write a short paper, a medium paper, and a long paper, in that order. They are also responsible for one oral presentation.
Grading. Short paper: 15 % Medium paper: 25 % Long paper: 35 % Participation (including presentation): 25 % Total: 100 %