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Human Rights: Local and Global

Semester and Year SP 2015
Course Number IDSEM-UG1825
Section 001
Instructor Vasuki Nesiah
Days W
Time 11:00 AM - 1:45 PM
12:00 AM - 12:00 AM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC, GLOBAL


This course includes travel to Sri Lanka during the week of Spring Recess, March 12-22. Permission required: Application deadline is October 24, 2014. For more information and to apply, please click on course title and then link to application.


The term ‘International Human Rights’ invokes the notion of universalism as background presupposition, as practice and as promise. Yet human rights means something very different in different political contexts. How does the tension between supranational definitions of human rights and the situated knowledges of particular contexts get articulated? What are the harmonies and disharmonies between global and local practice? How do different locals relate to each other? How are questions of empire implicated in the human rights field? This course approaches these questions by looking at how human rights is invoked and negotiated in the United States and Sri Lanka in areas such as prison conditions and media freedom. This is a ten week course that combines classroom study of the human rights field with site visits to human rights organizations in both countries. First in the US and then in Sri Lanka, students will talk with experts in the field, visit with key national and international organizations, and explore how human rights mechanisms negotiate the ‘glocal’ space. The Sri Lankan component of the course will entail travel to the country over spring break. That week will include shared classroom learning with students from University of Colombo in the morning and site visits in the afternoon. We will read authors such as Sally Merry, David Kennedy, Makau Mutua, Radhika Coomaraswamy and Deepika Udagama as well as country reports by the UN and other organizations regarding the human rights issues in the USA and Sri Lanka.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)