What are human rights? This course will provide an introduction to the different ways people have thought about the political, ethical and legal foundation for rights claims. It will also look at the world of human rights activism and how different organizations and social movements have used human rights discourse to fight for a wide range of issues, such as women’s rights, access to housing and redress for war crimes. We will explore human rights through the work of philosophers, lawyers, journalists, activists and film directors. Readings will be wide ranging and include Karl Marx, Immananuel Kant, Charles Taylor, Martha Nussabum, Philip Alston, Makau Mutau, Katherine Franke, Mahmud Mamdani, Ken Roth, Teju Cole and others. We will also read and analyze international human rights instruments. We will also watch films such as War Don Don (Rebecca Richman Cohen’s film on post-conflict human rights prosecutions in Sierra Leone) and The Pinochet Case (Patricio Guzman’s film tracking accountability for human rights violations during Chile’s military regime).