TPOL S 251
Selected themes in American and occasionally other modern and contemporary cultures. Themes and readings may include: advertising and consumer culture; class and culture, gender and sexuality, identity, and post-9/11 culture.
PLEASE NOTE: This course is subtitled TORTURE AND HUMAN RIGHTS. This focus is most closely related to the last item in the catelogue description ("post-9/11 culture"). Shortly after September 11, 2001, the United States government, under the banner of a “global war on terror,” authorized detention and interrogation practices that are widely acknowledged to constitute torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and that therefore violated national and international law. President Obama reversed most of these policies by executive order. This course introduces students to the recent history of U.S. torture policy in the context of the “war on terror.” We will examine what is now known about such policies, where they originated, how they were implemented, and how they were legally and politically facilitated. In addition, we will examine the conditions that contributed to the torture and abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. We will compare these policies to existing human rights law and other legal constraints. Finally, we will examine the issue of accountability for these human rights violations.
Student learning goals
develop a more thorough knowledge of social institutions through focused engagement with both contemporary and enduring social issues
strengthen analytical skills
develop ability to write with style and precision
develop ethical and logical reasoning
learn to synthesize and evaluate information through an application of knowledge and methods across different disciplines.
learn to converse with others about serious and complex social and political issues
General method of instruction
This course will require good reading skills and an ability to analyze key arguments of authors and how those arguments are supported.
Class assignments and grading
Daily discussion of the reading; two midterm exams; end of quarter essay. Prior to the beginning of the course, instructor reserves the right to change this structure of grading.
Student participation: approximately 20% Two midterm exams: approximately 60% End of quarter essay:approximately 20%
Prior to the beginning of the course, instructor reserves the right to change this distribution of grading