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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A preliminary list of the elective courses for fall 2018 and spring 2019 is listed below:
AFAM 186b / LAST 214b / PLSC 378b / SOCY 170b, Contesting Injustice, Elisabeth Wood
Exploration of why, when, and how people organize collectively to challenge political, social, and economic injustice. Cross-national comparison of the extent, causes, and consequences of inequality. Analysis of mobilizations for social justice in both U.S. and international settings. Intended primarily for freshmen and sophomores. SO
AFAM 195b / PLSC 424b / SAST 440b, Gandhi, King, and the Politics of Nonviolence, Karuna Mantena
A study of the theory and practice of nonviolent political action, as proposed and practiced by M. K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. The origins of nonviolence in Gandhian politics and the Indian independence movement; Gandhian influences on the Civil Rights movement; King’s development of nonviolent politics; the legacies and lessons for nonviolent politics today. SO
* AFAM 379b / FREN 410b / LITR 299b, Colonial Narrative, Postcolonial Counternarrative, Christopher Miller
Readings of paradigmatic, colonial era texts that have provoked responses and rewritings from postcolonial writers and filmmakers. In some cases the rewriting is explicit and direct, in other cases the response is more oblique. Both profound differences of perspective and unexpected convergences will emerge. Readings may include: Aimé Césaire’s A Tempest after Shakespeare’s Tempest, Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation after Camus’s The Stranger, and Claire Denis’s film Chocolat after Ferdinand Oyono’s Houseboy.
* AFAM 476b / HUMS 448b / WGSS 480b, Race & Caste, Hazel Carby and Inderpal Grewal
The seminar, as an interdisciplinary course in cultural studies, puts into conversation the fields of African American studies; South Asian Studies; Ethnicity, Race & Migration Studies; and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies. It draws from the social sciences, sciences, and humanities. Ideas of race and caste and the social practices that have evolved from these forms of differentiation are seen as disconnected, belonging to divergent spaces and times. This course examines how race and caste are intimately related and, indeed, co-constitutive within British colonial and imperial regimes of power. Drawing on examples from the Caribbean, India, North America, South Africa, and the UK, we examine the production of knowledge and systems of classification through political theory, political economy, representational practices, and the history of science. The course focuses on the consequences of economic, political, and social differentiation not only in terms of oppression and exploitation, but also through understanding how race and caste have been foundations for mobilizing and organizing for rights, resistance, and liberation. HU, SO
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
* AFST 324a / EP&E 317a / HIST 368Ja / PLSC 324a, Nelson Mandela, Staff
A study of Nelson Mandela’s life and career and the political and philosophical questions his career engages. Students examine his ideas on race and on the colonial experience and compare them to those of Mohandas Gandhi and Franz Fanon. Students also read recent philosophical work on forgiveness in order to critically assess Mandela’s politics of reconciliation. Examination of Mandela as a global celebrity, as well as the political career of Winnie Mandela.
* AFST 366a / EP&E 305a / HIST 367Ja / PLSC 364a, Bureaucracy in Africa: Revolution, Genocide, and Apartheid, Staff
A study of three major episodes in modern African history characterized by ambitious projects of bureaucratically driven change—apartheid and its aftermath, Rwanda’s genocide and post-genocide reconstruction, and Ethiopia’s revolution and its long aftermath. Examination of Weber’s theory bureaucracy, Scott’s thesis on high modernism, Bierschenk’s attempts to place African states in global bureaucratic history. Overarching theme is the place of bureaucratic ambitions and capacities in shaping African trajectories.
* AFST 372a / HIST 375J / MMES 105a / SOCY 372a, Comparative Nationalism in North Africa and the Middle East, Jonathan Wyrtzen
The rise of nationalism in the Maghreb (or Arab West) and Mashriq (or Arab
East). Introduction to major debates about nationalism; the influence of transnational (pan-Islamic and pan-Arab) ideologies, ethnicity, gender, and religion. Case studies include Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf monarchies, Morocco, Western Sahara, Algeria, and Berber and Kurdish movements. SO
* AFST 382a, Child Health and Development in Africa, Nicholas Alipui
Examination of the most critical issues and trends in child health, child survival and development, and efforts to incorporate priorities of children and future generations after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly. SO
* 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
* AMST 314b / WGSS 306b, Gender and Transgender, Greta LaFleur
Introduction to transgender studies, an emergent field that draws on gender studies, queer theory, sociology, feminist science studies, literary studies, and history. Representations of gender nonconformity in a cultural context dominated by a two-sex model of human gender differentiation. Sources include novels, autobiographies, films, and philosophy and criticism. RP
ANTH 119b, Law as Culture, Louisa Lombard
Introduction to anthropological understanding of what law is, how it holds its authority, and how it is shaped by cultural assumptions about justice, rights, and morality. Readings from classic and contemporary texts in legal and political anthropology. Cultural dimensions of law and its changing relationship to discipline, power, and governance. SO
ANTH 381b / WGSS 378b, Sex and Global Politics, Graeme Reid
Global perspectives on the sexual politics of gender identity, sexual orientation, and human rights. Examination of historical, cultural, and political aspects of sexual orientation and gender identity in the context of globalization. SO
* ANTH 462b, Ethnographic Perspectives on Global Health, Staff
Study of anthropological ethnographies on serious health problems facing populations in resource-poor societies. Poverty and structural violence; health as a human right; struggles with infectious disease; the health of women and children. Focus on health issues facing sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. SO RP
* ECON 473b / EP&E 227b / PLSC 343b, Equality, John Roemer
Egalitarian theories of justice and their critics. Readings in philosophy are paired with analytic methods from economics. Topics include Rawlsian justice, utilitarianism, the veil of ignorance, Dworkin's resource egalitarianism, Roemer's equality of opportunity, Marxian exploitation, and Nozickian procedural justice. Some discussion of American economic inequality, Nordic social democracy, and the politics of inequality. Recommended preparation: intermediate microeconomics. SO
* ENGL 334b, Postcolonial World Literatures, 1945 to the Present, Stephanie Newell
Introduction to key debates about postwar world literatures in English, to the politics of English as a language of postcolonial literature, and to debates about globalization and culture. Themes include colonial history, postcolonial migration, translation, national identity, cosmopolitanism, and global literary prizes. WR, HU
* ENGL 357a or b / LITR 426a or b / WGSS 340b, 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
* ENGL 359b / WGSS 352b, Feminist and Queer Literary Methods, Margaret Homans
This course explores feminist and queer literary criticism and theory, the use of feminist and queer literary methods across disciplines, and the uses of literary evidence in gender and sexuality studies. Rather than covering a particular period or genre of literature, the course uses a selection of primary texts in English from Shakespeare to the present, from multiple literary genres (fiction, poetry, drama, memoir, creative nonfiction), and from popular culture and non-literary sources as well as canonical texts. Most of the reading, however, will be in literary criticism and theory and in scholarly writing that makes use of literary methods. Topics include the power of narrative and of representation to create norms; the intersectional gender politics of language, including issues of access, code-switching, and appropriation; the uses of narrative as a scholarly tool and of narrative methods across disciplines; historicisms and presentisms; and art as activism. Students learn to do research in literary criticism and theory, and practice thinking broadly about the cultural work that literature does and about the uses of literary methods and practices in other fields. WR, HU
* 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
* GLBL 225b, Approaches to International Development, Staff
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
* GLBL 376a / GLBL 552a, Asia Now: Human Rights, Globalization, Cultural Conflicts, Jing Tsu
This course examines contemporary and global issues in Asia (east, southeast, northeast, south), in a historical and interdisciplinary context, that include international law, policy debates, cultural issues, security, military history, media, science and technology, and cyber warfare. Course is co-taught with a guest professor. HU, SO
* GLBL 386a, The Politics of Human Rights Law, Thania Sanchez
The effects of international efforts to promote respect for human rights. Analysis of policy tools used by states, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations to promote human rights work, including advocacy, law, sanctions, trade, aid, justice mechanisms, and diplomacy. Focus on issues such as genocide, torture, women's rights, children's rights, and civil and political rights. WR, SO
* HUMS 229a / LITR 431a, 1968@50 Latin American Languages of Liberation, Moira Fradinger
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the upheavals of 1968, this seminar looks at the Latin American cultural and political discourses of liberation throughout the sixties, with an eye at assessing their aftermath and their legacy today. While the language that characterized the foundation of the nation-states in the 19th century was emancipation, in the second part of the twentieth century, and particularly around 1968, Latin America embraced the world discourse of liberation. This seminar examines languages of liberation in an array of disciplines and artistic practices from South and Central America as well as the Caribbean. We explore regional debates that were also inserted in the larger discourse of the anti-colonial struggles of the global South. Topics include Philosophy of liberation (Dussel), Theology of liberation (the 1968 Council of Bishops in Medellin, Colombia), Theater of the oppressed (Boal), Pedagogy of the oppressed (Freire), Cinema of liberation (manifestos of third cinema), the New Song protest movements across the region (from Violeta Parra in Chile to Tropicalismo in Brazil), anti-colonialism in the Caribbean (Fanon), anti-neocolonialism (dependency theory, internal colonialism), Indigenous liberation (from the Barbados declarations to the Lacandon jungle declarations), experimental “boom” literature (Cortázar) etc. HU
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
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
PLSC 326a / PHIL 474a, Borders, Culture, and Citizenship, Seyla Benhabib
The contemporary refugee crisis in Europe and elsewhere; new patterns of migration; increasing demands for multicultural rights of Muslim minorities in the West; and transnational effects of globalization faced by modern societies. Examination of these issues in a multidisciplinary perspective in light of political theories of citizenship and migration, as well as laws concerning refugees and migrants in Europe and the United States. SO
* WGSS 206b, Transnational Approaches to Gender & Sexuality, Evren Savci
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. WR
WGSS 207a, Gender, Justice, Power, Institutions, Inderpal Grewal
Examination of how inequalities based on gender, race, caste, class, sexuality as well as a host of other identities are embedded in institutions that make up our social world. From the family and the home to the workplace, from the University, and the Corporation, to the Military and Media, we track how inequalities emerge and are sustained by power and institutional structures. We also see how they are challenged and what sorts of instruments are needed to challenge them. In particular, we focus on sexual politics and sexual violence as a key issue to understanding the gendered workings of institutions, in order to examine structures that sustain inequality. Through the semester, we hope to consider many domains of life–bedrooms and boardrooms, international borders and feminist movements–to understand the stubborn and sticky forms and hierarchies of power that are challenged and contested by activists, scholars, and communities. Tr
* WGSS 355b, Gender, Development and Technology, Inderpal Grewal
Will technology lift all boats? Can it help address global inequalities and solve social and environmental problems? From solar power in Puerto Rico, to biometric ID cards believed to efficiently deliver welfare, to new cookstoves in India that promise to help women, how is technology imagined to furthering the project of ‘development’ that is often seen as synonymous with progress and economic growth? This course surveys a wide range of perspectives, histories, and dilemmas with the goal of understanding how to think of ‘development’ and ‘technology for development’ as subjects of study. We examine the gendered targets of development projects, as well as those who create and imagine these projects. We are especially interested in examining relations between development and economy, development and politics, development and technology. In addition to examining gender (often understood to mean just women) as a key aspect of development, this course uses a critical feminist lens to explore a range of issues, including discourses and practices of development within struggles over power, history and culture, the relation between development projects of today in relation to colonial projects and ideologies of ‘improvement’ and ‘the civilizing mission’ that were built on particularly racialized, sexualized, and gendered ideas. We also consider how the issue of gender and development has changed over time to include questions of gay rights, disability, and protections for children. In this way, we explore how ‘macro’ agendas have shaped the lives of millions of men and women living across the globe.