Non-Academic Requirements

Students in the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights are expected to attend weekly dinners in their sophomore spring and junior fall, unless they have a conflict with a prior and inflexible commitment. Also, in their sophomore spring, students are required to attend three events sponsored by the Schell Center and write short reflections on these events, to be submitted by the end of the semester. In the rest of their time in the Program, students are required to write and submit one event reflection each semester. Juniors and seniors should send their event reflection to [email protected], no later than two weeks after the event took place. With students’ permission, we will post some of these reflections or excerpts from them on the Human Rights Program website.

More information about weekly dinners and other non-academic aspects of the Human Rights Program can be found under the Scholars Program tab.

Academic Requirements

There are six required courses in the Multidisciplinary Academic Program in Human Rights: a gateway lecture course, four electives, and a senior colloquium. In their senior year, Scholars complete a capstone project informed by their coursework, extracurricular activities, and summer internships or research.

Gateway Course

HMRT 100/PLSC 148 “Human Rights Theory and Politics,” offered in spring 2018, introduces students to the core ideas, issues, practices, and controversies regarding human rights. In doing so, its objective is to map the complex terrain that human rights and their study occupy, rather than (merely) to justify the concept’s existence.

Human Rights Scholars are required to take the course in spring of their sophomore year, unless they are studying abroad or receive permission from the Program Director for other extenuating circumstances.

Capstone Project

Each Human Rights Scholar will undertake a capstone project in the fall of senior year, to be informed by the student’s extracurricular experience and developed in consultation with the Program Director. In order to complete the project, scholars will enroll in a weekly seminar (HMRT 400, ‘Advanced Human Rights Colloquium’) in which they will receive guidance from the Program Director, share progress reports, and provide each other with feedback. 

Please note that University policy requires that all student research projects involving human subjects be reviewed by an institutional review board (IRB) prior to the start of the study, to ensure that the project meets University requirements and any applicable regulations.

Anthony Kayruz (’17) presents excerpts from the screenplay he wrote for his capstone project, which told the story of a Central American unaccompanied minor and his immigration lawyers.

Elective Courses

Each Human Rights Scholar is required to take four electives, drawn from existing Yale courses. Each Scholar’s elective courses should reflect the interdisciplinary nature of human rights study, including a diversity of perspectives and methodologies across departments and disciplines. For example, Scholars are encouraged to select courses that explore different geographic or thematic areas and that introduce them to both theoretical and practical concerns. Our formal criterion for a Program elective is that a course “engage with the language, ideas, and methods of human rights.” We ask that you distinguish this from courses that address issues that affect people’s human rights, would be susceptible to a human rights analysis, or would simply be useful for understanding a human rights issue in which you are interested. Rather, with the Program’s goal of enabling a coherent study of human rights and with only four electives required, we expect your electives to focus on courses that will engage directly with and enhance your knowledge of and facility with the concepts, institutions, and development of human rights discourse.

Scholars will be required to have their electives approved by the Program Director and will also have the opportunity to petition for additional courses in Yale College or for graduate courses to count as electives. Please note that only courses taken following the student’s admission to the Program will satisfy the elective requirement.

Scholars complete the Program's requirements in addition to the coursework for their majors and may count a maximum of two courses as electives that also count toward their major requirements. Although Scholars may double major, we do not encourage it, and Scholars who double major may count only a total of two courses that fulfill their major requirements as Program electives.

The elective courses for fall 2017 and spring 2018 are listed below:

AFAM 125a / AMST 125a / HIST 136a, The Long Civil Rights Movement  Crystal Feimster

Political, social, and artistic aspects of the U.S. civil rights movement from the 1920s through the 1980s explored in the context of other organized efforts for social change. Focus on relations between the African American freedom movement and debates about gender, labor, sexuality, and foreign policy. Changing representations of social movements in twentieth-century American culture; the politics of historical analysis.  HU
MW 10:30am-11:20am

AFAM 251b / AMST 397b, Critical Race Theory  Crystal Feimster

Introduction to critical race theory, a radical critique of relations among race, law, and power in U.S. politics and society. Intellectual foundations of the field, with emphasis on African American perspectives; key juridical acts. The centrality of U.S. law in producing social hierarchies of race and racial difference, gender, sexuality, and class. The extension of critical race theory to global analysis of race, immigration, and cultural difference.  HU
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

AFST 238a / AMST 238a / ER&M 238a, Introduction to Third World Studies  Gary Okihiro

Introduction to the historical and contemporary theories and articulations of Third World studies (comparative ethnic studies) as an academic field and practice. Consideration of subject matters; methodologies and theories; literatures; and practitioners and institutional arrangements.  SO
TTh 11:35am-12:50pm

AFST 348b / MMES 291b / SOCY 232b, Islamic Social Movements  Jonathan Wyrtzen

Social movement theory used to analyze the emergence and evolution of Islamic movements from the early twentieth century to the present. Organization, mobilization, political process, and framing of political, nonpolitical, militant, and nonmilitant movements; transnational dimensions of Islamic activism. Case studies include the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hizbollah, Al-Qaeda, Gulen, Al-Adl wa-Ihsann, Islamic State, and others.  SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

AMST 196a / AFAM 196a / ER&M 226a / EVST 196a / SOCY 190a, Race, Class, and Gender in American Cities  Laura Barraclough

Examination of how racial, gender, and class inequalities have been built, sustained, and challenged in American cities. Focus on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Topics include industrialization and deindustrialization, segregation, gendered public/private split, gentrification, transit equity, environmental justice, food access, and the relationships between public space, democracy, and community wellbeing. Includes field projects in New Haven.  SO
TTh 10:30am-11:20am

AMST 206b / ER&M 221b / WGSS 222b, Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies  Quan Tran

Reconfiguring refugees as fluid subjects and sites of social, political, and cultural critiques. Departing from dominant understandings of refugees as victims, consideration instead of refugees as complex historical actors, made visible through processes of colonization, imperialism, war, displacement, state violence, and globalization, as well as ethical, social, legal, and political transformations. Focus on second-half of the twentieth century.  SO
W 9:25am-11:15am

AMST 318a / HIST 415Ja, The Problem of Global Poverty  Joanne Meyerowitz

Study of the programs and policies that aimed to end global poverty from 1960 to the present, from modernization to microcredit to universal basic income. Topics include the green revolution, population control, the “women in development” movement, and the New International Economic Order. Extensive work with primary sources.  May count toward geographical distributional credit within the History major for any region studied, upon application to the director of undergraduate studies.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

AMST 385b, Trauma in American Film and Television  Christine Muller

Origins, multiple meanings, and influence of the notion of trauma in contemporary American culture. Relations between theories of popular culture and of trauma, particularly in discussions of war, social upheaval, and September 11, 2001. The conditions and implications of engaging trauma through everyday entertainment such as film and television; the ethics of representation.  HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

AMST 454a / FILM 454a / ER&M 388a, Narrating the Lives of Refugees  Jake Halpern and Zareena Grewal

Analysis of contemporary representations of refugee experiences with special attention to the processes by which war, colonialism, displacement, encampment, and racialization shape the lives of refugees in New Haven and beyond. Topics include the representation of refugees as a source of political crisis; one dimensional representations of refugees as victims in need of rescue, national subjects unfit for citizenship, and as a political and social threat; and how current refugee problems create definitional difficulties for states and international agencies.  HU, SO
M 1:30pm-3:20pm

ANTH 223b / ARCG 228b, The Anthropology of War  David Watts, William Kelly, and Louisa Lombard

An integrated anthropological perspective on human conflict and organized violence. Questions include the definition of war, the inevitability of war, lessons to be learned from archaeological evidence, and the effects of war on individuals and groups. Source material includes the study of human evolution and nonhuman primates, the archeological record, and ethnography of the contemporary world.  SO


ANTH 381b / WGSS 378b, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Human Rights  Graeme Reid

Examination of historical, cultural, and political aspects of sexual orientation, gender identity, and human rights in the context of globalization.  SO
Th 9:25am-11:15am

ANTH 460b / RSEE 365 / E&RS 365, Critical Human Rights and Global Postcolonialism   Cassandra Hartblay

While legal scholars consider human rights as a doctrine to be enforced via international mechanisms, historians question how human rights as a conceptual idea came into being, and anthropologists consider how human rights actually function in daily life. By emphasizing postsocialism, this course foregrounds the often-overlooked so-called second world—including Russia and China—as well as other socialist and postsocialist countries like Vietnam and Cuba. The course considers human rights and socialism as two utopian visions for justice in a global human society, and encourages students to think critically about which kinds of ideologies promote which kinds of justice—and for whom.  Previous course work in social science, history, area studies, or by permission of the instructor.

CSBR 370, Exiles and Migrants in Literature and Film. Leah Mirakhor, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, College of Wooster. Lecturer in Yale College.

Examination of transnational literary texts and films that illuminate how migrants, refugees, and exiles remake home away from their native countries following displacement from various causes including war, genocide, famine, racial and ethnic conflict, religious conflict, and climate change. Students explore the possibilities and limitation of creating, contesting, and imaging home in diaspora. 


ENGL 230a / ER&M 225a / HUMS 402a / LITR 319a, Selfhood, Race, Class, and Gender  Marta Figlerowicz

Examination of the fundamental notion of “the self” through categories of race, class, and gender as dimensions for understanding personhood. Introduction to major philosophical frameworks for thinking about “the self” from antiquity to the present; case studies from across the world and in different media, placing contemporary debates about these issues in historical perspective.  HU
MW 11:35am-12:25pm

ENGL 357a / LITR 426a / WGSS 340a, Feminist and Queer Theory  Jill Richards

Historical survey of feminist and queer theory from the Enlightenment to the present, with readings from key British, French, and American works. Focus on the foundations and development of contemporary theory. Shared intellectual origins and concepts, as well as divergences and conflicts, among different ways of approaching gender and sexuality.  WR, HU
English: Junior Seminar

EP&E 264a / GMAN 318a / PHIL 323a / PLSC 323a, Exile, Statelessness, Migration  Seyla Benhabib

An interdisciplinary examination of exile, statelessness, and migration. Consideration of the meaning of exile as opposed to migration or banishment; whether a stateless person is also in exile, how the theme of exile is rooted in the Jewish condition of “Galut;” and how these conditions throw light on democratic societies. Authors include Hannah Arendt, Judith Shklar, Judith Butler, and contemporary authors such as Linda Zerilli and Bonnie Honig. Prerequisites: strong background in political philosophy, 19th or 20th century intellectual history, literary studies, or permission of the instructor.  HU, SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

EP&E 267a / SOCY 216a / WGSS 314a, Social Movements  Ron Eyerman

An introduction to sociological perspectives on social movements and collective action, exploring civil rights, student movements, global justice, nationalism, and radical fundamentalism.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

EP&E 310b / PLSC 227b, Refugee Law and Policy  Staff

Controversies and challenges in U.S. and international refugee law and policy, with a focus on asylum law and practice in the United States. Emphasis on legal reasoning and analysis through close reading of statutes, regulations, and case law. Final project is a legal brief on behalf of a client.  SO
EPE: Advanced Seminar

ER&M 342a / HIST 372Ja / LAST 372a, Revolutionary Change and Cold War in Latin America  Gilbert Joseph

Analysis of revolutionary movements in Latin America against the backdrop of the Cold War. Critical examination of popular images and orthodox interpretations. An interdisciplinary study of the process of revolutionary change and cold war at the grassroots level.  WR, HU
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ER&M 387a, Migrants and Borders in the Americas  Alicia Camacho

Migration and human mobility across North America, with a focus on 1994 to the present. Critical and thematic readings examine Central America, Mexico, and the United States as integrated spaces of migration, governance, and cultural and social exchange. Migrant social movements, indigenous migration, gender and sexual dynamics of migration, human trafficking, crime and social violence, deportation and detention, immigration policing, and militarized security.  HU, SO
T 1:30pm-3:20pm

ER&M 430b / AMST 450b / WGSS 461b, Islam in the American Imagination  Zareena Grewal

The representation of Muslims in the United States and abroad throughout the twentieth century. The place of Islam in the American imagination; intersections between concerns of race and citizenship in the United States and foreign policies directed toward the Middle East.  SO
TTh 2:30pm-3:45pm

FILM 363b / LITR 360b, Radical Cinemas of Latin America  Moira Fradinger

Introduction to Latin American cinema, with an emphasis on post–World War II films produced in Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. Examination of each film in its historical and aesthetic aspects, and in light of questions concerning national cinema and “third cinema.” Examples from both pre-1945 and contemporary films. Conducted in English; knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese helpful but not required.  HU

GLBL 225b, Approaches to International Development  Daniel Keniston

The unique set of challenges faced by households in developing countries, and the economic theories that have been developed to understand them. Health, education, and discrimination against women in the household; income generation, savings, and credit; institutions, foreign aid, and conflict. Recent econometric techniques applied to investigate the underlying causes of poverty and the effectiveness of development programs. Enrollment limited to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Prerequisite: GLBL 121.  QR, SO

GLBL 279a / PLSC 141a, Global Governance  Yuriy Sergeyev

Examination of global policy problems, the acceleration of interdependence, and the role, potential, and limits of the institutions of global governance to articulate collective interests and to work out cooperative problem solving arrangements. Consideration of gaps in global governance and controversies between globalization and state sovereignty, universality, and tradition.  SO
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

GLBL 338b / EP&E 294b / PLSC 457b, Social Welfare and Nongovernmental Organizations Katharine Baldwin

The role of nonstate actors such as religious organizations, community associations, and international NGOs in the delivery of basic goods and services in developing countries. Welfare states in Europe and North America and reasons why states outside these regions have not developed similar institutions; causes of and logic behind various nonstate actors’ involvement in social welfare provision; economic, institutional, and political effects of having nonstate actors provide social services and public goods.  SO
Global Affairs: Development

HIST 191Ja / WGSS 354a, Women, Gender, and Grassroots Politics in the United States after World War II  Jennifer Klein

American politics and grassroots social movements from 1945 to the present explored through women’s activism and through gender politics more broadly. Ideas about gender identities, gender roles, and family in the shaping of social movements; strategies used on the local, regional, national, and international levels. Connections between organizing and policy, public and private, state and family, and migration, immigration, and empire.  WR, HU
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

HUMS 287b / HIST 455J, The Theory and Practice of Resistance  Terence Renaud

Exploration of the histories and theories of resistance in the modern world. How liberation movements, guerrillas, and oppressed groups appeal to resistance as an organizational strategy and as moral justification. Readings include Kant, Thoreau, Nietzsche, Luxemburg, Lenin, Gandhi, Fanon, Arendt, Marcuse, Foucault, A. Lorde, Said, and J. Butler. Themes include antifascism to terrorism; violence to nonviolence, the New Left to Black Lives Matter.  HU  Tr
W 9:25am-11:15am

LAST 368a / ER&M 368a / HIST 368a, Political Violence, Citizenship, and Democracy in Latin America  Marcela Echeverri Munoz

Exploration of how and when definitions of citizenship and democracy have been shaped by violent conflicts; how local and global contexts have influenced individual and collective political action; and the transformation of leadership, ideologies, and utopias in different Latin American contexts.  HU
TTh 1:30pm-2:20pm

PLSC 116a, Comparative Politics: States, Regimes, and Conflict  David Simon

Introduction to the study of politics and political life in the world outside the United States. State formation and nationalism, the causes and consequences of democracy, the functioning of authoritarian regimes, social movements and collective action, and violence.  SO
TTh 11:35am-12:25pm

PLSC 118b, The Moral Foundations of Politics  Ian Shapiro

An introduction to contemporary discussions about the foundations of political argument. Emphasis on the relations between political theory and policy debate (e.g., social welfare provision and affirmative action). Readings from Bentham, Mill, Marx, Burke, Rawls, Nozick, and others.  SO
EPE: Intro Political Phil

PLSC 123a, Political Economy of Foreign Aid  Peter Aronow

Introduction to modern quantitative research methods in international political economy, with a focus on empirical evidence related to foreign aid. The state of knowledge regarding the effects of development assistance on democratization, governance, human rights, and conflict. The challenges of drawing causal inferences in the domain of international political economy.  SO
W 3:30pm-5:20pm

WGSS 206b, Globalizing Gender and Sexuality  Andrew Dowe

Examination of transnational debates about gender and sexuality as they unfold in specific contexts. Gender as a category that can or cannot travel; feminist critiques of liberal rights paradigms; globalization of particular models of gender/queer advocacy; the role of NGOs in global debates about gender and sexuality.
T 1:30pm-3:20pm