Human Rights: Principles and Polemics
Full course description
There is the expectation that in an increasingly multiculutral and postsecular world, human rights provide us with some common ground: however turbulent and changeable social life may be, we can all demand and enjoy the protection of human rights. This expectation might turn out to be misguided. Even within the “West”, there is intractable disagreement as to the content and implications of human rights. Activities that are seen as human rights violations by some legal systems are tolerated by others. Even more, activities that are seen to be human rights violations by some legal systems are seen to be rightful exercises of freedom by others. How deep are these disagreements? Can they be overcome? This course will provide students an advanced introduciton to the field of human rights by exploring and parsing out disagreement on divisive and polemical issues. The course analyzes how a variety of key issues of legal concern, such as hate speech, social welfare, dignity, the death penalty and discrimination, are addressed by a variety of domestic and international institutions, such as the European Court of Human Rights, the UN and the Supreme Court of the United States.
This course is predominantly legal in character. That means that social scientific explanation and understanding will not be the focus of the course. Rather, the course will concentrate on analyzing the justification of legal decisions in accordance with legal rules and principles.
- Provides students with an advanced introduction into human rights.
- Introduces key concepts that are used within all forms of human rights discourse.
- Familiarizes students with polemics in the field of human rights
- Provides students and opportunity to engage with the intricacies of legal reasoning.
- To encourage critical thinking and appreciation of differences within the field of human rights.
SSC2024 International Law or SSC1007 Introduction to Law and Legal Reasoning