Human Rights and World Literature

Course Description

Human rights may be universal, but each appeal comes from a specific location with its own historical, social, and cultural context. This summer we will turn to literary narratives and films from a wide number of global locations to help us understand human rights; each story taps into fundamental beliefs about justice and ethics, from an eminently human and personal point of view. What does it mean not to have access to water, education, free speech, for example?nnThis course has two components. The first will be a set of readings on the history and ethos of modern human rights. These readings will come from philosophy, history, political theory. The second, and major component is comprised of novels and films that come from different locations in the world, each telling a compelling story. nnWe will come away from this class with a good introduction to human rights history and philosophy and a set of insights into a variety of imaginative perspectives on human rights issues from different global locations.nnReadings include:nAmnesty International, Freedom: Stories Celebrating the Universal Declaration of Human RightsnAndrew Clapman, Human Rights: A Very Short IntroductionnJames Dawes, That the World May KnownWalter Echo-Hawk, In the Light of JusticenAmitav Ghosh, The Hungry TidenBessie Head, MarunUrsula LeGuin, The Word for World is Forest

Course Details

  • Grading Basis: Letter Grade or Credit/No Credit
  • Intensive Studies: This course is offered as part of the Human Rights and Service Learning Intensives. See the Intensive Studies page for more information on how to receive an official Document of Completion.
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