Contacts | The Pozen Family Center for Human Rights | Human Rights Curriculum | Major in Human Rights | Overview of the Program Requirements | Summary of Requirements for the Major in Human Rights | Grading | Honors | Advising | Double Majoring | Minor in Human Rights | Human Rights Courses

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The Pozen Family Center for Human Rights

The Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, founded in 1997 as the Human Rights Program, supports innovative, interdisciplinary teaching and research projects that explore the theory and practice of human rights. The Pozen Center advances the global study of human rights through:

  • A rigorous liberal arts curriculum that combines humanities and social sciences perspectives and analysis with practice-oriented teaching;

  • Research initiatives that bring together faculty and students from across the University to address the challenges of human rights in a global world of diverse histories, politics, religions, and cultures;

  • Programs designed to enhance the University community's engagement with local, national, and international human rights issues, practices, and organizations.

The Human Rights Internship Program provides funded summer fellowships to College, graduate, and professional students to gain hands-on experience at host organizations around the world and in the United States. The Pozen Center also advances human rights research through grants to faculty and doctoral students that support innovative scholarship, as well as conferences and symposia. Multi-year faculty initiatives develop projects such as health and human rights, philosophical approaches to labor rights, and changing norms of refugee protection. The Pozen Center fosters a human rights culture at the University of Chicago and in the broader community with public events throughout the year. Conferences, lectures, workshops, performances, and exhibitions bring scholars and practitioners from around the world to explore human rights in theory and practice.

Human Rights Curriculum

The Human Rights Curriculum includes the College Human Rights civilization studies sequence, a College major, a College minor, an introduction to contemporary concepts and issues in human rights, a Spring Human Rights in Paris Study Abroad program, and a variety of elective courses with distinct disciplinary, thematic, and/or regional perspectives.

HMRT 10100 Human Rights in World Civilizations I and HMRT 10200 Human Rights in World Civilizations II comprise a two-quarter sequence that explores how human rights have been constructed across transnational, imperial, national, and local spaces in a variety of civilizational vernaculars while exposing students to their contested genealogies, limits, and silences. The sequence is primary source driven and discussion based, with readings drawn from a range of texts from the political and the legal to the literary, aural, and visual. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. These courses must be taken in sequence.

Major in Human Rights

The Human Rights major explores the theory and practice of human rights through sustained interdisciplinary inquiry, experiential learning, and capstone research projects. Students examine fundamental conceptual issues around human rights through a variety of disciplinary perspectives in courses from the arts and humanities to the law and the social and biological sciences, engaging with the problematics of human rights practice to formulate their own critical perspectives on human rights as a field of knowledge. The major offers a unique opportunity at the University of Chicago for students to integrate theory with practice with its strong experiential focus.

Overview of the Program Requirements

Students must complete a total of 12 courses (1100 units):

  • HMRT 24823 International Human Rights Law and Practice
  • HMRT 23921 Human Rights Field Work
  • One foundational course in the Humanities
  • One foundational course in the Social Sciences
  • Six electives (four grouped in a stream)
  • Two-Quarter BA Thesis Workshop or Practice Capstone Workshop

Students are also required to undertake a human rights experience.

HMRT 24823 International Human Rights Law and Practice

This course introduces students to the legal architecture of international human rights law. While the legal framing of rights emphasizes universality and the common good, its application reflects the historical compromises and political uncertainties of the times. This course will explore the tensions that are produced when politics meets "the law" and examine the issues, actors, doctrines, and practices that make up the human rights project. Students are required to complete this course by Autumn Quarter of their third year.

HMRT 23921 Human Rights Field Work

This course prepares students to relate the academic study of human rights to human rights practice. It provides training in human rights monitoring, analysis, the use of public information and records, effective storytelling in human rights advocacy, effective interview techniques, stakeholder mapping, and working with legal documents. Importantly, this course will also address the "ethics" side of field work, including principles of do no harm as well as self-care, which is so critical to human rights work. Students are required to take this course before completing their human rights field experience, which is usually undertaken over the Summer Quarter of their third year.

Foundational Courses

Foundational courses are designed to introduce students to key disciplinary, cross-disciplinary, and methodological approaches to the study of human rights. Students will take one foundational course in the humanities (HUM) and one foundational course in the social sciences (SS). Students may petition to use courses in the Human Rights in Paris Study Abroad program to meet the humanities and social sciences foundational requirement. They may also petition to use HMRT 10100-10200 Human Rights in World Civilizations I-II (if they do not use it to meet their general education requirement in civilization studies). Foundational courses can also be used to satisfy elective requirements, but only if they are not used to satisfy the foundational course requirement.

HMRT 21002 Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations (HUM)

HMRT 20200 Human Rights: History and Theory (SS)

HMRT 26200 Human Rights: An Anthropological Perspective (SS)

HMRT 21400 Health and Human Rights (HUM or SS)

HMRT 24638 Global Challenges to Human Rights (HUM or SS)

Elective Courses

Elective courses are designed to allow students to develop expertise in particular human rights topics or issues. Any HMRT-designated course satisfies an elective requirement. However, students must choose four of their six elective courses from within a single stream. This is intended to provide a depth and coherence to the selection of electives. You can find on the Pozen Center website which stream each HMRT-designated course is in. Note that students may also petition to create their own topical stream of elective courses. Streams include:

Human Rights in Theory

Courses that explore the theoretical foundations of human rights, including topics such as the relation of human rights to justice, the state, and law, or the role of human dignity and the concept of the human being. Sample courses include Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights, Advanced Topics in the Philosophy of Human Rights, Anti-Colonial Thought, and Justice at Work. Courses in this stream are marked (Theory) on the Pozen Center website.

Human Rights in Crisis

Courses that explore emerging “crises” in both the theory and practice of human rights, including rising authoritarianism and the erosion of democracy, climate crisis and human rights, or refugee crises. Sample courses include: Migrant, Refugee, and Citizen, Militant Democracy and the Preventative State, and The Politics of Law: Human Rights in Crisis. Courses in this stream are marked (Crisis) on the Pozen Center website.

Human Rights in Context

Courses that explore human rights by contextualizing them either historically or regionally. Sample courses include Human Rights in Mexico, Human Rights in the Middle East, Cold War Human Rights, American Legal History, or The History of LGBTQ Rights. Courses in this stream are marked (Context) on the Pozen Center website.

Human Rights in Transition

Courses that explore questions of transitional justice, and post-conflict conditions, including peace and reconciliation, memorialization, and reparations. Sample courses include Ethnic Conflict in Comparative Perspective, Reimagining Justice: The Chicago Police Torture Memorial, or Challenging Transitional Justice. Courses in this stream are marked (Transition) on the Pozen Center website.

The Right to Have Rights

Courses that focus on exclusion and new and emerging regimes of rights, including the claims of immigrant rights, indigenous rights, gender and sexual rights, and the rights of incarcerated persons. Sample courses include Incarceration and Justice, Indigenous Rights and Capitalism, and The Transnational Migration Regime. Courses in this stream are marked (R2HR) on the Pozen Center website.

Human Rights Field or Research Experience

In addition to required coursework, all majors will undertake either a human rights field experience or a human rights research experience.

Field Experience

For a field experience, students apply for competitive funding usually during Winter Quarter of their third year to work with a human rights partner organization identified by the Pozen Center as offering strong learning opportunities, usually over the summer after the third year. Relevant organizations include international human rights NGOs, locally based NGOs, government bodies, and think tanks. Together the host organization and student, with the guidance of Pozen Center faculty and staff, establish Learning Agreements for each placement. The host organization and student complete two evaluations over the course of the placement. A list of current partnerships is available on the Pozen Center website.

Research Experience

For a research experience, students will apply to work with a University of Chicago faculty member who has an ongoing human rights project. For example, one might apply to work with a faculty member on the construction of a digital library of human rights documents, or with a faculty member who is conducting research on the effects of long-term sentencing on mass incarceration. Please consult with the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies to learn more about these opportunities as they arise.

BA Thesis or BA Practice Capstone Project

Two tracks are available to fourth-year students: the BA Thesis Track and the BA Practice Capstone Track.

BA Thesis Track

Students on the BA Thesis Track write a BA Thesis that involves human rights. The student must find a supervisor for their thesis in Spring Quarter of third year, submitting a thesis proposal signed by their supervisor to the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies by the end of the Spring Quarter. In Autumn and Winter Quarters of their fourth year, the students must enroll in the Human Rights BA Thesis Workshop. This is a workshop which meets every other week, where students will receive research training, attend panels, and share their evolving thesis research with their peers and the workshop’s instructor. For students who are double majoring in a major with a thesis workshop, the student may petition to have this workshop count for satisfying the BA workshop requirement, provided the thesis involves human rights.

Practice Capstone Project Track

The Practice Capstone Track is available only by application, to be submitted in Spring Quarter of Year 3 to the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies. Students will enroll in the Practice Capstone Workshop, which meets weekly. Under the supervision of the workshop instructor, the students on the Practice Capstone Track will either continue their engagement with the organization where they have their field experience, or with some other ongoing human rights project, over the course of their fourth year. They will engage in intensive human rights field research and learn how to marshal this research to engage in advocacy in various modes from writing reports, to op-eds, or multimedia projects. This will culminate in a written document that may take various forms under the supervision of the Practice Capstone Workshop instructor.

General Education

It is recommended but not required that students who major in Human Rights take HMRT 10100 Human Rights in World Civilizations I and HMRT 10200 Human Rights in World Civilizations II to fulfill their general education requirement in civilization studies.

Summary of Requirements for the Major in Human Rights

HMRT 24823International Human Rights Law and Practice100
HMRT 23921Human Rights Field Work100
One foundational course in the Humanities100
One foundational course in the Social Sciences100
Six electives (four grouped in a stream)600
Two quarters of BA Thesis Workshop or Practice Capstone Workshop100
BA Thesis or Practice Capstone Project
Human Rights Field Experience
Total Units1100


Students who are majoring or minoring in Human Rights must receive quality grades in courses taken to meet the requirements of the program.


Eligibility for honors requires a GPA of 3.5 or higher overall and in each of the courses taken to meet the requirements of the program, and a BA Thesis or Practice Capstone Project that is judged to merit honors.


Majors should plan their course of studies in consultation with the Coordinator of Undergraduate Studies, Ben Laurence ( There is no application for entry to the major, although one must apply by the Spring Quarter of third year to do the Practice Capstone Track. All majors must sign up for the list, the main channel of communication for those pursuing a degree in human rights to receive information.

Double Majoring

Double majoring in human rights is permitted. The same courses may be used to satisfy the requirements for both majors. Furthermore, students may petition to substitute the BA thesis workshop of their other major for the Human Rights BA Thesis Workshop, provided their thesis involves human rights.

Minor in Human Rights

College students in any field of study may complete a minor in Human Rights. The minor is an interdisciplinary plan of study that provides students the opportunity to become familiar with the theoretical, historical, and comparative perspectives on human rights. The flexibility of this course of study complements majors in any of the disciplines. A minor in Human Rights will provide a background for graduate study in many disciplines or for careers that incorporate human rights analysis or advocacy, including medicine, law, film-making, social work, public policy, teaching, journalism, or government service.

The Human Rights minor requires a total of 500 units (five courses), including:

1. One introductory course. Choose from one of the following:

HMRT 21002Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations100
HMRT 23921Human Rights Field Work100
HMRT 24823International Human Rights Law and Practice100
HMRT 24638Global Challenges to Human Rights100
HMRT 21400Health and Human Rights100
Or any course in the Human Rights in Paris Study Abroad program: HMRT 20101, HMRT 20201, HMRT 20301

2. Four approved Human Rights (HMRT) courses or cross-listed courses.

It is recommended but not required that students who minor in Human Rights take HMRT 10100-10200 Human Rights in World Civilizations I-II to fulfill their general education requirement in civilization studies.

Summary of Requirements for the Minor in Human Rights

One of the following:100
Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations
Human Rights Field Work
International Human Rights Law and Practice
Global Challenges to Human Rights
Health and Human Rights
Or any course in the Human Rights in Paris Study Abroad program: HMRT 20101, HMRT 20201, HMRT 20301
Four approved HMRT courses or cross-listed courses400
Total Units500

To apply for the minor, students must receive the Pozen Center Executive Director's approval on the Consent to Complete a Minor Program form obtained from their College adviser or online. This form must then be returned to the College adviser by the end of Spring Quarter of the student's third year.

Courses in the minor program may not be (1) double counted with the student's major(s) or with other minors or (2) counted toward general education requirements. Courses in the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

Human Rights Courses

HMRT 10100-10200. Human Rights in World Civilizations I-II.

This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. These courses must be taken in sequence.

HMRT 10100. Human Rights in World Civilizations I. 100 Units.

The first quarter begins with a set of conceptual problems and optics designed to introduce students to the critical study of human rights, opening up questions of the universal, human dignity, and the political along with the practices of witness and testimony. It is followed by two thematic clusters. "Anti-Slavery, Humanitarianism, and Rights" focuses on the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to historicize notions of dignity, sympathy, and witness. "Declarations as a Human Rights Genre" examines revolutionary eighteenth-century rights declarations in France, the United States, and Haiti against the aspirations of the 1948 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Instructor(s): B. Laurence, A. Wang, Staff     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. These courses must be taken in sequence.
Equivalent Course(s): SOSC 24900

HMRT 10200. Human Rights in World Civilizations II. 100 Units.

Four thematic clusters structure the second quarter. "Migration, Minorities, and Refugees" examines minority rights, the evolution of legal norms around refugees, and human trafficking. "Late Twentieth Century Human Rights Talk" explores the contestations between rights claims in the political-civil and socio-economic spheres, calls for sexual rights, and cultural representations of human rights abuses. "Global Justice" considers forms of international criminal law, transitional justice, and distributive justice. "Indigenous Rights as Human Rights" takes up the relatively new domain of the rights of indigenous peoples and how they relate to contemporary human rights practice.

Instructor(s): B. Laurence, A. Wang, N. Gonzalez, Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): SOSC 24900
Note(s): This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. These courses must be taken in sequence; students must have taken SOSC 24900 to enroll in this course.
Equivalent Course(s): SOSC 24901

HMRT 12119. Ecofeminisms: Feminist Theory and Climate Justice. 100 Units.

Ecofeminism, a term coined in 1974, was at the height of its popularity in the late twentieth century. It merged feminist concerns with environmental ones by highlighting the ways both nature and women had been continually oppressed by patriarchal institutions. But by the early 2000s, ecofeminism was essentially a dead movement, attacked for being too essentialist and not inclusive enough. Interestingly, global warming and climate change movements also seemed to lose steam around the same time. Yet, as many scientists and scholars now recognize, climate change is neither gender neutral nor does it affect all people equally; women and people of color often suffer the most when extreme climate events strike. This course examines theories of ecofeminism from the late 20th century to the present to draw connections between feminist struggles, racial inequalities, human rights concerns, and climate change. Through our readings, films, discussions, presentations, and research projects, we will track some common threads between feminist theories and climate justice like access to water, food, and healthcare; reproductive rights and reproductive justice; and displacement due to climate change. Some questions we will interrogate are: How is climate justice a feminist issue? How is environmental degradation and climate change a human rights issue? Do we need a new term, like intersectional environmentalism, for ecofeminism?

Instructor(s): Caroline Heller     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): This course counts as a foundations course for GNSE majors
Equivalent Course(s): GNSE 12119, ENST 22119

HMRT 12123. Global Perspectives on Reproductive Justice Theory and Practice. 100 Units.

The US Supreme Court's 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization has sharpened our awareness of the perils that besiege our reproductive futures. This course offers a deep dive into comparative reproductive justice theory and practice rooted both in unique cultural particularities and in globally resonant issues and challenges. While exposing students to the foundational texts shaping the reproductive justice movement, the course shall engage critically with the possibilities and limitations of a rights based framework and the challenges and liberatory potential of a justice based approach to reproductive decision-making. Drawing from literature and media from across the world, the course shall provide global perspectives on issues as varied as contraception, assisted reproductive technology, mass sterilization, and family leave, along with scholarship and resources from the US. While engaging critically with theory, the course shall also provide practitioners' perspectives through guest lectures by ethnographers, lawyers, and healthcare professionals working in the field. This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors.

Instructor(s): Malavika Parthasarathy     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): GLST 22123, GNSE 12123

HMRT 20101-20201-20301. Human Rights in Paris: HMRT 20101, HMRT 20201, HMRT 20301.

Human Rights in Paris

HMRT 20101. Human Rights, Empire, and Postcolonial Politics. 100 Units.

This class focuses on the history and theory of human rights by considering it as a quintessentially postcolonial political form. Dialoguing with histories of imperialism, we consider how the genealogies of colonial rule intersect and interact with trajectories of political modernity after the formal end of empire. Empirically, the class focuses on the histories and presents of India and South Africa, as exemplary cases of countries that underwent processes of constitutional decolonization. Thus, rights have a foundational place in both polities. What does that mean? How does that create openings for the imaginations and instantiations of socially transformative policies? How does it lead to the endurance of traces and aspects of colonial government? What are the promises and limits of rights as we consider them in such historical and political contexts? In the process, how does our thinking and conceptualization of rights, imperialism and postcolonial political modernity, and the relationship between them, itself come to be at stake?

Instructor(s): Kaushik Sunder Rajan     Terms Offered: Spring

HMRT 20201. Human Rights and Great Power after Total War and Genocide. 100 Units.

This class focuses on the history and theory of human rights by considering it as a quintessentially postcolonial political form. We consider how genealogies of human rights intersect and interact with trajectories of colonial rule and postcolonial politics. In the process, the question of rights itself comes to be posed afresh. Empirically, the class focuses on the histories and presents of India and South Africa. Both these countries underwent processes of constitutional decolonization. Thus, rights have a foundational place in both postcolonial polities. What does that mean? How does that create openings for the imaginations and instantiations of socially transformative policies? How does it lead to the endurance of traces and aspects of colonial government? What are the promises and limits of rights as we consider them in such historical and political contexts? In what ways are political struggles in these countries marked as being both for and against rights? In the process, how does our thinking and conceptualization of rights itself come to be at stake?

Instructor(s): James Sparrow     Terms Offered: Spring

HMRT 20301. Loot, Empire and the Decolonial: Human Rights and the Politics of Cultural Restitution. 100 Units.

Who owns culture and where do cultural objects belong? This course explores the cultural politics of the growing movement in the global South demanding the return of objects now housed in Western museums that are the legacies of looting and the illicit trafficking of cultural heritage under 19th and 20th century imperial regimes. We will examine the larger historical, human rights and ethical issues underlying movements for cultural restitution by examining critical cases involving African, Greek and Cambodian cultural heritage looted during the colonial era and now housed at the Musée du Quai Branly and Musée Guimet in Paris, the British Museum in London and the Humboldt Forum in Berlin. Along with classroom readings and discussion, we will meet curators, policymakers, scholars and activists who are actively involved in the contemporary politics of cultural restitution. Museum visits in Paris will be supplemented a short field trip to London (and perhaps Berlin) to better appreciate the transnational dimensions of movements for repatriating cultural heritage.

Instructor(s): Mark Bradley     Terms Offered: Spring

HMRT 20116. Global-Local Politics. 100 Units.

Globalizing and local forces are generating a new politics in the United States and around the world. This course explores this new politics by mapping its emerging elements: the rise of social issues, ethno-religious and regional attachments, environmentalism, gender and life-style identity issues, new social movements, transformed political parties and organized groups, and new efforts to mobilize individual citizens.

Instructor(s): T. Clark     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 27900, SOCI 30116, LLSO 20116, GEOG 30116, SOCI 20116, HMRT 30116, GEOG 20116

HMRT 20200. Human Rights: History and Theory. 100 Units.

This course is concerned with the theory and the historical evolution of the modern human rights regime. It discusses the emergence of a modern "human rights" culture as a product of the formation and expansion of the system of nation-states and the concurrent rise of value-driven social mobilizations. It proceeds to discuss human rights in two prevailing modalities. First, it explores rights as protection of the body and personhood and the modern, Western notion of individualism. Second, it inquires into rights as they affect groups (e.g., ethnicities and, potentially, transnational corporations) or states.

Instructor(s): Savitri Kunze, Pozen Center for Human Rights Social Science Teaching Fellow     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 39302, HMRT 30200, CRES 29302, INRE 31700, HIST 29302

HMRT 20800. Research, Writing, and Mass Incarceration. 100 Units.

In this mixed enrollment course, outside students from UChicago and inside students who are incarcerated at Stateville Prison will come together each week at Stateville Prison for a quarter of learning, dialogue and knowledge building across the prison wall. We will explore the possibilities, challenges and ethical considerations researchers should contemplate when pursuing research and writing within and about carceral constraints. We will also interrogate the different methods such as ethnography, interviews and even surveys used to amplify the voices of those inside. Finally, we will look to theories such as Black feminism and queer theory to think together about the construction of (subjugated) knowledge. Through weekly assignments and exercises including developing and conducting interviews and surveys, students will develop strategies and methods for the practice of research and writing about mass incarceration. Throughout the course, guest scholars, researchers and writers will be invited to share their relevant work with us. By the end of the quarter all students will be expected to produce a research proposal for a project on mass incarceration as well as contribute to a group research project. Due to the unique nature of this course, it will require availability all day (8am-3pm) on Thursdays during spring quarter Application required for enrollment:

Instructor(s): C. Cohen, A. Kim     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 20800, PLSC 20802, RDIN 20800

HMRT 21001. Human Rights: Contemporary Issues. 100 Units.

This course examines basic human rights norms and concepts and selected contemporary human rights problems from across the globe, including human rights implications of the COVID pandemic. Beginning with an overview of the present crises and significant actors on the world stage, we will then examine the political setting for the United Nations' approval of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights in 1948. The post-World War 2 period was a period of optimism and fertile ground for the establishment of a universal rights regime, given the defeat of fascism in Europe. International jurists wanted to establish a framework of rights that went beyond the nation-state, taking into consideration the partitions of India-Pakistan and Israel-Palestine - and the rising expectations of African-Americans in the U.S. and colonized peoples across Africa and Asia. But from the beginning, there were basic contradictions in a system of rights promulgated by representatives of nation-states that ruled colonial regimes, maintained de facto and de jure systems of racial discrimination, and imprisoned political dissidents and journalists. Cross-cutting themes of the course include the universalism of human rights, problems of impunity and accountability, notions of "exceptionalism," and the emerging issue of the "shamelessness" of authoritarian regimes. Students will research a human rights topic of their choosing, to be presented as either a final research paper or a group presentation.

Instructor(s): Susan Gzesh, Senior Lecturer, (The College)     Terms Offered: Autumn Spring Winter
Equivalent Course(s): DEMS 21001, HIST 29304, LACS 21001, CRES 21001, CHST 21001, LLSO 21001, SOSC 21001

HMRT 21002. Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations. 100 Units.

In this class we explore the philosophical foundations of human rights, investigating theories of how our shared humanity in the context of an interdependent world gives rise to obligations of justice. Webegin by asking what rights are, how they are distinguished from other part of morality, and what role they play in our social and political life. But rights come in many varieties, and we are interested in human rights in particular. In later weeks, we will ask what makes something a human right, and how are human rights different from other kinds of rights. We will consider a number of contemporary philosophers (and one historian) who attempt to answer this question, including James Griffin, Joseph Raz, John Rawls, John Tasioulas, Samuel Moyn, Jiewuh Song, and Martha Nussbaum. Throughout we will be asking questions such as, "What makes something a human right?" "What role does human dignity play in grounding our human rights?" "Are human rights historical?" "What role does the nation and the individual play in our account of human rights?" "When can one nation legitimately intervene in the affairs of another nation?" "How can we respect the demands of justice while also respecting cultural difference?" "How do human rights relate to global inequality and markets?" (A) (I)

Instructor(s): Ben Laurence, Pozen Center for Human Rights Instructional Professor     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 39319, HIST 29319, INRE 31602, MAPH 42002, HMRT 31002, DEMS 21002, PHIL 31002, PHIL 21002

HMRT 21005. Militant Democracy and the Preventative State. 100 Units.

Are states of exception still exceptional? The current debates and developments as well as the existential governmental crises has led to a securitization of rights. State security discourse narrates how states understand and mediate their legal obligations and has been used justify pre-emptive actions and measures which otherwise would not fit within an international law framework. When narrated in the public square, States often construct a discourse around a necessity defence-measures that may be extra-legal but argued to be necessary to protect democratic values and the democratic 'way of life.' This typifies what we refer to as 'militant democratic' language of the 'preventive state' and has been most visible in the raft of antiterrorism measures that were introduced after the events of September 11, 2001 and remain to date. This course will examine the impact of militant democracy and the preventative state on the current human rights landscape. It will look specifically how the narrative of prevention and protection has impacted normative changes to fundamental human rights and how the permanence of emergency is beginning to give the concept of 'securitization of rights' legal legs.

Instructor(s): Kathleen Cavanaugh, Senior Lecturer, Executive Director, Pozen Center for Human Rights     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 31005, DEMS 21005, PLSC 21005

HMRT 21006. International Human Rights Law. 100 Units.

This class is an introduction to international human rights law. It will cover the main international human rights instruments (treaties, conventions, declarations, and the opinions of international courts and human rights bodies) and institutions that operate at the international level. The course will also cover the conceptual foundations of international human rights law, the organization and structure of the United Nations human rights system and regional human rights bodies. The interaction between national and international systems and their cooperation in enforcing international human rights law will also be covered. Finally, we will discuss a couple of countries, including Afghanistan under the Taliban, as case studies to highlight the challenges that face international human rights law in the contemporary world. There are no preconditions for taking this course.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 21005

HMRT 21007. The Politics of Human Rights Law. 100 Units.

In contrast to the notion that international law is a 'stable set of normative demands opposed to international politics,' it is 'better understood as an aspect of hegemonic contestation, a technique of articulating political claims in terms of legal rights and duties' (Koskenniemi 2004:197). As a hegemonic technique, law is a surface over which political struggles are waged, reflecting back the political uncertainties of the time. That international law is situated within, not apart from political realities is not in question and before we can begin to explain universal international law, we must first clarify 'what or whose view of international law is meant' (199). This course challenges a traditional reading of international law by examining the politics of law. Specific attention will be paid to the interface between emergency powers and international law. When are international law principles relevant? What guidance or constraints does international law impose on emergency powers? What is the relationship between national and international control mechanisms? How do international law mechanisms supervise or monitor the exercise of emergency powers-from the "global war on terror" to Covid19-- and how effective are they? The course will provide students with a toolkit to [re]conceptualise international law in order to better understand the hegemonic contestation over the rights-based discourse.

Instructor(s): Kathleen Cavanaugh, Senior Lecturer, Pozen Center for Human Rights     Terms Offered: Autumn

HMRT 21025. Creating a Different Image: Black Women's Filmmaking of the 1970s-90s. 100 Units.

This course will explore the rich intersections between African American women's filmmaking, literary production, and feminist thought from the 1970s to the early 1990s, with an emphasis on the formation of a Black women's film culture beginning in the 1970s. We will examine the range of Black feminisms presented through film and the ways that these films have challenged, countered, and reimagined dominant narratives about race, class, gender, and sexuality in America. We will explore the power and limitations of filmmaking as a mode of Black feminist activism; the range of Black feminisms presented through film; and the specific filmic engagements of well-known Black feminist critics such as bell hooks, Toni Cade Bambara, and Michele Wallace. As many Black feminist writers were engaged with filmmaking and film culture, we will look at these films alongside Black women's creative and critical writing from the period. Approaching filmmaking in the context of Black feminist thought will allow us to examine the possibilities of interdisciplinary approaches to film studies broadly, as well as to think specifically about the research methods and theories that are demanded by Black women's filmmaking in particular.

Instructor(s): Allyson Field     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): This course is open to graduate and undergraduate students from across the disciplines; our conversations and presentations of the films will both depend on and be energized by different disciplinary perspectives.
Note(s): Not offered in 2024-25. Please email Professor Field at before enrolling. Course Description Continued: We will discuss the form, aesthetics, and politics of individual films and we will examine larger efforts by artists and activists to build a Black women’s film culture, asking such questions as: What does a film history of Black feminism look like, and what scholarly and creative methods does such a history demand? To begin to answer these questions, we will revisit the 1976 Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts—believed to be the first ever Black women’s film festival—organized by Michele Wallace, Faith Ringgold, Patricia Jones, Margo Jefferson, and Monica Freeman. The class will collectively participate in a homage series inspired by the 1976 festival, featuring work by filmmakers from the original festival such as Monica Freeman, Madeline Anderson, Michelle Parkerson, Ayoka Chenzira, Carol Munday Lawrence, Edie Lynch, and Camille Billops; as well as others including Julie Dash, Zeinabu irene Davis, Maya Angelou, and Yvonne Welbon. The weekly course screenings will be open to the public and students will gain experience in the public presentation of films by actively engaging in public-facing aspects of film exhibition (writing program notes, delivering introductions, participating in discussions, etc.). The class will culminate with a two-day symposium that will bring together around 35 Black feminist filmmakers and artists, including a number from the 1976 festival, to revisit the threads and legacies of the original event and discuss the present and future of Black women’s film practices.
Equivalent Course(s): CMST 21025, KNOW 31025, GNSE 30128, HIST 37415, GNSE 20128, HMRT 31025, CRES 21025, CMST 31025, HIST 27415

HMRT 21400. Health and Human Rights. 100 Units.

This course attempts to define health and health care in the context of human rights theory and practice. Does a "right to health" include a "right to health care"? We delineate health care financing in the United States and compare these systems with those of other nations. We explore specific issues of health and medical practice as they interface in areas of global conflict: torture, landmines, and poverty. Readings and discussions explore social determinants of health: housing, educational institutions, employment, and the fraying of social safety nets. We study vulnerable populations: foster children, refugees, and the mentally ill. Lastly, does a right to health include a right to pharmaceuticals? What does the big business of drug research and marketing mean for our own country and the world?

Instructor(s): R. Sherer, E. Lyon     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 31400, HLTH 21400, MEDC 60405

HMRT 21501. Genealogies of Environmental Organizing and Activism. 100 Units.

This course explores how organizations-civic, private, governmental-working in the field of environmental advocacy construct, deploy and are shaped by distinct discourses governing relationships between nature and society. The environment is a field of social action in which organizations attempt to effect change in large domains like resource conservation, access, stewardship, and a basic right to environmental quality in everyday life. The work of effecting change in these complex domains can assume a variety of forms including public policy (through the agencies of the state), private enterprise (through the agency of the market), 'third sector' advocacy (through the agency of nonprofit organizations) and social activism (through the agency of social movements and community organizations). State, market, civil society and social movement organizations are where ideas are transmitted from theory to practice and back again in a recursive, dialectical process. These contrasting forms of organization have different histories, wellsprings and degrees of social power. Moreover, they bring different epistemologies to their claims about being legitimate custodians of nature-that is to say they can be understood genealogically. As such, organizations working to effect environment change are at once animated by and constitutive of distinct discourses governing the relationships between nature and society. The course explores how those distinct discourses are associated with a suite of different organizational realms of social action; the goal is trying to connect the dots between discursive formations and organizational forms.

Instructor(s): Mary Beth Pudup     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course counts towards the ENST 4th year Capstone requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): CEGU 31501, GLST 21501, ENST 21501, MAPS 31101, SSAD 21501, CEGU 21501, SSAD 41501

HMRT 21648. Languages of Migration: Literature, Law, and Language Justice. 100 Units.

For decades, human rights activists and lawmakers in the United States have been fighting for a person's right to speak their native language before the law, implying that language justice could be achieved through the use of interpreters. At the same time, a new generation of poets and fiction writers has been exercising alternative approaches to language justice, shifting the focus from speakers to listeners, and from the legal to the personal. This course brings these seemingly separate discourses into conversation in an attempt to trace the assumptions that undergird different formulations of language justice in the late 20th century and 21st century. Drawing on Edward Said's The Public Role of Writers and Intellectuals, we will examine NGO statements and immigration court hearings side by side with poetry and fiction by Monica de la Torre, Antonio Ruiz Camacho, Irena Klepfisz, Joseph Brodsky and others. As we analyze theories of identity, desire, language and responsibility and engage with thinkers such as Andrea Long Chu, Hannah Arendt and Aamir Mufti, we will consider the potential implications of bringing literature and law into conversation with one another.

Instructor(s): Yael Flusser     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 21648, ENGL 21648

HMRT 21899. The Politics of International Migration. 100 Units.

This course examines the legal and political dimensions of the phenomenon of international migration: when migrants cross territorial borders and enter a state to whose citizenry they do not belong. During the first half of the course, we will ask why and how migrants move - studying theoretical explanations for population flows - and why and how receiving states try either to attract them or to keep them out. We will reflect on the intersection of inequality and migration by critically examining how different groups of people on the move are categorized in different ways (e.g., as high or low-skilled workers, refugees, "illegal" immigrants, asylum-seekers) and, as a consequence, are granted different levels of territorial access and rights. We will also reflect on the human costs of policies of migration control and engage with normative debates on the ethics of borders. During the second half of the course, we will examine what happens to immigrants once they have arrived in the country of reception. Focusing on the cases of undocumented immigrants, asylum-seekers, unaccompanied children, humanitarian claimants, and families, we will ask how different groups claim rights and legal status in the host country and what challenges they encounter in the process. The class readings and lectures will mainly focus on migration to the US and Europe, but we will also briefly touch on immigration to developing countries in the Global South, which host 85% of the world's refugees.

Instructor(s): C. Galli     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Distribution - undergrad: C
Equivalent Course(s): CHDV 21899, SOCI 20587, LLSO 29899, ANTH 21899

HMRT 22040. Religion in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Peacemaking. 100 Units.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is arguably the most intractable political conflict at present. The conflict has been subjected to various historiographies and narrative explorations, offering often-competing explanations in an attempt to understand its origin and evolvement, and also the failure of its resolution. This course explores the role of religion in the historical development of the conflict and in its contemporary manifestation, while at the same time probing the potential role of religion in the resolution of the conflict and outlining the history of attempts for religious peace-making in Israel/Palestine. Combining concrete historical analysis and intellectual history, the course will focus on the Jewish, Muslim and Christian views of the conflict and its potential resolution, relating to such themes as covenant, messianism, political theology, the sanctity of the land and the role of Jerusalem. These concepts and others will be explored against the backdrop of the concrete history of the conflict, focusing initially on the formative period of 1897-1948, pivoting to the 1967 war and its aftermath and concluding with the religionization of politics in recent decades and its far-reaching consequences.

Instructor(s): David Barak-Gorodetsky     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): CRES 20240, HIST 25900, JWSC 24040, RLST 22040

HMRT 22123. Natural Law in the Hist of Scholastic Political Thought: Aquinas, Vitoria, Suárez, Hooker, Grotius. 100 Units.

The concept of natural law has played a central role in the history of Western political thought, and it has often been deployed in political argumentation at pivotal moments in human history, from the discovery of the New World and the American founding to the Nuremberg trials and the Civil Rights Movement. Though the doctrine has antecedents in Greek and Roman philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics, it received its classic articulation in the writings of the Scholastic thinkers of the Middle Ages and early modern period. In this seminar, we will read key primary source texts in the development of natural law theory in the Scholastic age from five of the Scholastic tradition's seminal thinkers: Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), Francisco de Vitoria (1483-1546), Francisco Suárez (1548-1617), Richard Hooker (1554-1600), and Hugo Grotius (1583-1645). In reading their works, we will consider the theories of natural law they construct as well as the implications of their respective theories for political debates concerning such questions as Spanish treatment of Native Americans, religious toleration, the foundations of international law, and the origins of political authority. We will also consider questions of continuity and discontinuity between the authors and the ways in which their works reflect the historical contexts in which they were written. Throughout, we will focus on close reading and careful exegesis of the primary source texts.

Instructor(s): S. Waldorf
Equivalent Course(s): MDVL 22123, RLST 27123, HIST 22123

HMRT 22241. Human Rights Research and Writing I. 100 Units.

This course provides an introduction to human rights theory and method for students working on disciplinary or interdisciplinary BA thesis projects that examine human rights topics.

Instructor(s): Nathaniel Gonzalez, Alec Wang, Social Science Teaching Fellows     Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Consent Required.

HMRT 22242. Human Rights Research and Writing II. 100 Units.

This course provides an introduction to human rights theory and method for students working on disciplinary or interdisciplinary BA thesis projects that examine human rights topics.

Instructor(s): Nathaniel Gonzalez, Alec Wang, Social Science Teaching Fellows     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent Required.

HMRT 22243. Human Rights Research and Writing III. 100 Units.

This course provides an introduction to human rights theory and method for students working on disciplinary or interdisciplinary BA thesis projects that examine human rights topics.

Instructor(s): Nathaniel Gonzalez, Alec Wang - Social Science Teaching Fellows     Terms Offered: Spring
Prerequisite(s): Consent Required.
Note(s): This is a Pass/Fail class

HMRT 22702. Abortion: Morality, Politics, Philosophy. 100 Units.

Abortion is a complex and fraught topic. Morally, a very wide range of individual, familial, and social concerns converge upon it. Politically, longstanding controversies have been given new salience and urgency by the Dobbs decision and the ongoing moves by state legislatures to restrict access to abortion. In terms of moral philosophy, deep issues in ethics merge with equally deep questions about the nature of life, action, and the body. In terms of political philosophy, basic questions are raised about the relationship of religious and moral beliefs to the criminal law of a liberal state. We will seek to understand the topic in all of this complexity. Our approach will be thoroughly intra- and inter-disciplinary, drawing not only on our separate areas of philosophical expertise but on the contributions of a series of guest instructors in law, history, and medicine. (A)

Instructor(s): Jason Bridges, Dan Brudney     Terms Offered: Not offered in 2024-2025
Prerequisite(s): PQ: Third or fourth-year standing. Students should opt into a discussion section that fits their schedule.
Note(s): Philosophy majors: this course fulfills the practical philosophy (A) requirement.
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 22702, GNSE 22705, BPRO 22700, HIPS 22701, HLTH 22700

HMRT 22703. Crimmigration. 100 Units.

The intersection of criminal law and immigration law is a growing field of law that is at the forefront of today's immigration debate. This course will explore how the tools of criminal enforcement, from incarceration to militarized policing have come to dominate immigration control, and how at the same time criminal laws related to immigration are enforced more like civil laws. Among the topics that will be explored in detail are: immigration deterrence through incarceration, deportation as a tool of crime prevention, the immigration consequences of crimes, and the relationship between mass incarceration and immigration detention.

Instructor(s): Pedro Gerson     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 32703

HMRT 22704. Transitional Justice During Conflict and Peace. 100 Units.

Transitional justice is an interdisciplinary field of research and practice that explores how societies can recover from systemic violence. The theories and mechanisms of transitional justice have been used to promote democratization, peacebuilding, reconciliation, and the rule of law in societies around the world for more than four decades. The first part of this course asks how we should understand the objectives that transitional justice seeks to achieve? How should cross-cutting principles relating to inclusivity, local ownership, and victim-centredness underpin transitional justice work? The second part of the course therefore examines the specificities and challenges that arise in advancing transitional justice during conflict, within peace negotiations, or as part of post-peace agreement peacebuilding. The third part of the course examines these themes through case studies of Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, and Ukraine.

Instructor(s): Louise Mallinder, Pozen Visiting Professor     Terms Offered: Spring

HMRT 23419. Embodying Method: How Artists Catalyze and Sustain Knowledge. 100 Units.

Artistic intention is often driven by local landscapes of increasing social fragility, where the urgency to mine the past, to excavate historical reason, is paramount to sustaining conversations surrounding issues of sovereignty, religious freedom, Indigenous worlding, race, spiritual affinities, environmental justice and so much more. But alas, such intention is often thwarted by political, cultural, ideological fear and State regulation that artists must be resilient sleuths in engineering solutions to such limits. How do they do this? How do they cope? What do they build? This course is a once-a-week deep dive into artistic practices predominantly speaking to the contexts of the Global South, whose 'work' extends beyond the presumed final exhibited art object, where artists are also activist, teacher, historian, archivist, spiritual leader, social worker and more. Via group discussion, relevant textual reading concerning various artistic projects will be shared (their moving images, socially-engaged projects, historical monuments, map-making and more), at times with the online presence of particular artists under study. 'Embodying Method' is conceived from over two decades of my living and working in Communist contexts, in addition to my commitment to working with artists across the Global South who are dedicated to innovating the social memory of their political realities.

Instructor(s): Zoe Butt, Pozen Center for Human Rights Visiting Professor     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): Willingness to engage in critical discussion via reading and watching and listening - no necessity to have background in the arts.
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 33419

HMRT 23472. Human Rights BA Essay Workshop I. 100.00 Units.

Human Rights BA Essay Workshop.

Instructor(s): Pozen Center for Human Rights Director of Practice     Terms Offered: Autumn. Course will have 0 units in Autumn quarter 2023 and 100 units in Winter quarter 2024.

HMRT 23473. Human Rights BA Thesis Workshop II. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): Pozen Center for Human Rights Director     Terms Offered: Winter

HMRT 23516. American Wars and the 20th Century World (1900-1990) 100 Units.

This course explores the history of American military power from the Spanish-American War to the end of the 1980s, focusing on the social, cultural, racial, and human rights aspects of the U.S. military and soldiering in the 20th century. This course will only lightly discuss military strategy and tactic, and instead focus on the broader array of issues which stem from American wars. The course will cover topics such as American military occupations, the desegregation of the Armed Forces, military justice and war crimes, and the rise (and fall) of human rights in American imaginations of war. We will be concerned with questions such as the relationship of the military to state-building in the U.S. and abroad, war as a state-making and race-making mechanism, and the importance of human rights and justice within imaginations of American military power. This course seeks to understand how war and peace shaped the history of the United States in the twentieth century, and the role of grassroots actors in defining the nature of war.

Instructor(s): Syrus Jin, Pozen Center for Human Rights Graduate Lecturer     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GLST 23516, HIST 27210

HMRT 23728. Are We Forced to Work?: Force, Work, and Human Rights. 100 Units.

Most of us, most of the time, must show up to work every day in order to get the money we need to survive. Although this fact seems commonplace, it raises important questions about human rights and human freedom. Are people under capitalism forced to labor? What about people who perform dangerous jobs out of economic desperation? And, if people are forced to work, is that in any sense a violation of their rights? On the one hand, some argue that egalitarian societies should recognize a right not to work. On the other, some argue that people should have a right to perform work, or at least work that is meaningful and freely chosen. In this class, we will read, write, and think about what contemporary philosophers have to say about each of these questions.

Instructor(s): Kathryn Petroff, Pozen Center for Human Rights Graduate Lecturer     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 23728

HMRT 23825. Human Rights in the Middle East. 100 Units.

This seminar explores the broad range of human rights struggles, concerns and activism in the contemporary Middle East region. The class will examine human rights issues posed by authoritarian, dictatorial and single-party state formations in the Middle East particularly by looking at the effects of internal security apparatuses, mechanisms of state violence, and struggles for political participation and liberty. We explore ongoing indigenous struggles for recognition and autonomy, such as the Kurdish, Sahrawi and Amazigh cases, while also contextualizing the region's complex history of colonial and neocolonial interventions by force and their human rights implications. We will examine the varied roles that non-state actors play in Middle Eastern human rights spheres, from militias to NGOs to religious and communal structures. The course will look to local actors and movements to explore forms of resistance, struggle, and social change while maneuvering through often highly-constrained political spaces. We pay particular attention to marginalized communities by looking at the rights struggles of minorities, women, children, migrant workers, the disabled, and the LGBTQ+ community in Middle Eastern contexts. Personal Status Laws and their effects on rights, especially with regard to marital relations and parental rights are considered. Interdisciplinary and varied modes of knowledge production including film serve as source materials.

Instructor(s): Lindsay Gifford, Pozen Center for Human Rights Assistant Research Professor     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): NEHC 33825, GLST 23825, HMRT 33825, NEHC 23825

HMRT 23921. Human Rights Field Work. 100 Units.

This course prepares students to relate the academic study of human rights to human rights practice. It will provide training in human rights monitoring, analysis, documentation (including the use of photography and videography), the use of public information and records, intervention and capacity building, trauma informed research, effective storytelling in human rights advocacy, effective interview techniques, stakeholder mapping, statistical analysis in R, mapping technologies and GIS. Importantly, this course will also address the 'ethics' side of field work, including principles of do no harm as well as self-care, which is so critical to human rights work.

Instructor(s): Pedro Gerson, Assistant Instructional Professor     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Students are required to take this course before completing their human rights research or field experience, which is often over the summer quarter of their third year.
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 33921

HMRT 24007. Human Rights in China. 100 Units.

This seminar explores the diverse range of human rights crises confronting China and Chinese people today. Co-taught by Teng Biao, an internationally recognized lawyer and advocate for human rights, and University of Chicago China historian Johanna Ransmeier, this course focuses upon demands for civil and political rights within China. Discussions will cover the Chinese Communist Party's monopoly on power, the mechanisms of the Chinese criminal justice system, and the exertion of state power and influence in places like Tibet, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan, as well as the impact of the Peoples Republic of China on international frameworks. We will discuss the changing role of activism, and the expansion of state surveillance capacity. Students are encouraged to bring their own areas of interest to our conversations. Throughout the quarter we will periodically be joined by practitioners from across the broader human rights community.

Instructor(s): Johanna Ransmeier, History, Teng Biao, Pozen Visiting Professor      Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): Consent Required
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 34516, EALC 24517, HMRT 34007, EALC 34517, HIST 24516

HMRT 24125. Technology and Human Rights. 100 Units.

The international human rights regime took form in the shadow of the atom bomb and WWII, a historical juncture, which for many marked the limits of techno-scientific rationality and progress. Utopian narratives of inevitable, technologically-driven social and economic progress nonetheless remain a cornerstone of American political and cultural imaginaries. In this course, we will draw on anthropology, law, and allied disciplines to explore the ambiguous intersections of technological innovation and human rights. Through a series of case studies, the course will consider how new technologies and their allied knowledge practices call into question the foundational categories of human rights law, complicating understandings of the individual, person hood, family, and life. The course will further examine how emerging developments in biotechnology, information technology, robotics, and AI variously enhance and undermine the substantive protections of human rights, including the rights to health, privacy, freedom of expression, security, and indigenous knowledge. Finally, we will consider how human rights norms and institutions can be mobilized to inform and constrain the design and application of potentially threatening new technologies.

Instructor(s): Lake Polan, Pozen Center for Human Rights Social Science Teaching Fellow     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 24125, HMRT 34125

HMRT 24193. Water Water Everywhere? 100 Units.

This interdisciplinary course explores aesthetics, environmental racism, and a human rights approach to the Commons to inform our perspective on the politics and aesthetics of water from the local to the global. The course will look at issues of scarcity and abundance through the lenses of art and human rights. The course will incorporate work by artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, who will visit the class. Students will consider works by other artists including Mel Chin, Allan Kaprow, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Fazal Sheikh, to understand how art can confront the 21st century's environmental challenges. Readings will include Susan Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others, and Fred Moten & Stefano Harney's The Undercommons. The course will include visits to site specific installations by artists Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle and Mel Chin, and visits to Chicago-area natural sites such as the Big Marsh and Lake Michigan. This course is an extension of a collaborative project at the Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry with human rights lawyer Susan Gzesh, artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, and curator Abigail Winograd.

Instructor(s): S. Gzesh, Staff     Terms Offered: May be offered 2024-2025
Prerequisite(s): Third- or fourth-year standing
Note(s): Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment.
Equivalent Course(s): ARTH 24193, BPRO 24193, CEGU 24193, CHST 24193, ENST 24193, SOSC 21005

HMRT 24205. Narrating Social Change. 100 Units.

This course is a mixed enrollment class which brings UChicago students and incarcerated students together for a quarter of learning, dialogue and knowledge-building across the prison wall. We will examine how individuals, groups, and oppressed communities produce, reproduce and reimagine what equality, justice, agency and freedom mean as they engage in activism for social change. Throughout the quarter, we will explore contemporary and historical examples of people engaging in resistance to oppression. In some cases, people act alone or in small groups to provide themselves with limited agency. In other examples, people work collectively to build organizations and social movements that transform countries. To explore these topics, we will use materials from multiple mediums including film, poetry, memoir, and cultural works. This is the first time UChicago students will have the opportunity to participate in a mixed enrollment course with incarcerated students at Stateville. (In Spring 2020, we were scheduled to begin a mixed enrollment course when the pandemic shut down classes at Stateville Prison and UChicago pivoted to remote learning). Eight to ten UChicago students will be selected for enrollment in the course. If all goes according to plan, the class will be held on Fridays, 10:30-1:15pm at Stateville Correction Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. For UChicago students, classes may alternate between Stateville and UChicago's Hyde Park Campus.

Instructor(s): Alice Kim, Pozen Center for Human Rights Director of Human Rights Practice, Cathy Cohen, David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science      Terms Offered: Autumn
Prerequisite(s): Undergraduate students who have taken at least two classes in Human Rights and/or Critical Race and Ethnic Studies are eligible to apply. A special application will be required in advance of Fall 2022 quarter. If you are interested in applying for this course, please email Alice Kim and you will receive the application when it becomes available in August 2022.
Note(s): Only students who receive notice of acceptance are eligible to enroll in this course with instructor consent.
Equivalent Course(s): CHST 24205, RDIN 24205, CRES 24205

HMRT 24638. Global Challenges to Human Rights. 100 Units.

The This course will introduce students to the field of human rights through two specific lenses. First, the course will emphasize human rights practices, demonstrating how human rights-in-action relates to and diverges from the ideals and discourses of human rights as laid out in documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Second, the course will view human rights from the perspective of affected communities, centering the experiences and critiques of those on the front lines of human rights crises. Through these two lenses, we will study the three most significant contemporary challenges to human rights in the world today: security regimes emerging from the post-9/11 paradigm of the global war on terror; escalating refugee crises; and climate change.

Instructor(s): Ishani Dasgupa, Assistant Instructional Professor     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 34638

HMRT 24701. Human Rights: Migrant, Refugee, Citizen. 100 Units.

The fundamental principle underlying human rights is that they are inherent in the identity of all human beings, regardless of place and without regard to citizenship, nationality, or immigration status. Human rights are universal and must be respected everywhere and always. Human rights treaties and doctrines mandate that a person does not lose their human rights simply by crossing a border. While citizens enjoy certain political rights withheld from foreigners within any given nation-state, what ARE the rights of non-citizens in the contemporary world? Students will research a human rights topic of their choosing, to be presented as either a final research paper or a group presentation.

Instructor(s): Susan Gzesh, Senior Lecturer, (The College)     Terms Offered: Autumn Winter
Prerequisite(s): A prior course in Human Rights or a migration-related topic would be desirable but not necessary
Equivalent Course(s): LACS 25303, LLSO 24701, SOSC 24701, SSAD 44701, CRES 24701, HMRT 34701

HMRT 24720. Trust after Betrayal: Society-Building in the Aftermath of Atrocity. 100 Units.

In this course, students will learn about the moral philosophy and anthropology of trust, mistrust, and betrayal. The course will be structured through four cases: the Colombian Peace Process, Germany's Stasi, the Cultural Revolution in China, and the United States 2008 Financial Crisis. The class will tend towards the discussion seminar format with some short lectures to help students bridge the theoretical and empirical materials. Students will analysis of laws, public discourses, literature, and ethnographic materials to write a final term paper on one of the four cases. As part of the course pedagogy, students will also learn how to form and manage productive writing groups and to write literature reviews that draw from multiple disciplines. The midterm will consist of a their literature review for their final term paper. Authors will include, but are not limited to the following: Baier, Benedict, Carey, Corsín Jimenez, Darwall, Fauklner, Fukuyama, Gambetta, Govier, Hawley, Holton, Jamal, Jones, Kleinman, Lewicki, Luhmann, McAllister, Möllering, Simpson, Tilly, and Widner.

Instructor(s): Erin McFee     Terms Offered: Hidden from the Catalog; unlikely to be re-offered
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 34720, ANTH 24720, ANTH 34720

HMRT 24725. Humans After Violence. 100 Units.

What happens to individuals and societies after experiences with violence? This course takes a critical look at scholarship and practitioner efforts to understand and influence those who make and unmake violence and who are implicated in its aftermath. The four units - violence, trauma, subjectivity, and reconciliation - explore and problematize each of these domains of inquiry. Throughout the course, we will draw from both foundational and emerging texts in anthropology and related disciplines as we critically examine the "re" in contexts of violence: re-integration of ex-combatants, re-entry of the formerly incarcerated individuals, re-turn of displaced populations, and re-conciliation among war affected peoples. What are the reach and limits of these discourses in contexts of violence and physical and socioeconomic insecurity? How is social life in these settings differentially experienced according to gender and stages of the life course? The course will also include an examination of methodological approaches to studying violence-affected individuals and communities as well as issues of decolonizing research, non-extractive approaches, reflection on relations of power and inequality, and trauma-informed approaches to research and engagement. Students will develop a case study of their choosing over the quarter and receive dedicated classroom instruction on writing interdisciplinary literature reviews.

Instructor(s): Erin McFee     Terms Offered: Hidden from Catalog; unlikely to be re-offered
Prerequisite(s): Open to 3rd or 4th year undergraduates and masters students
Equivalent Course(s): GLST 24725, ANTH 24725, ANTH 34721, HMRT 34721

HMRT 24823. International Human Rights Law and Practice. 100 Units.

This course will introduce students to the legal architecture of international human rights law. Whilst the legal framing of rights emphasizes universality and the common good, its application reflects the historical compromises and political uncertainties of the times. This course will explore the tensions that are produced when politics meets 'the law' and examine the issues, actors, doctrines and practices that make up the human rights project. As human rights law is evolutive, we will look at how the human rights project has changed and evolved in connection to historical movements and post-colonial politics and has developed in order to address state violence, 'terrorism', minority rights, women's rights, gender and sexuality, transitional justice, health, and responsibility to protect, to name but a few. We will draw on case studies, including the United States, in order to examine the complicated role of the state as both perpetrator and protector and promoter of human rights. Students will be encouraged to think critically about the human rights project; how does it confront the underlying issues of injustice and abuse, as well as the inherent conceptual and structural limitations of supranational human rights mechanisms in addressing and providing remedies for the problems facing the world today.

Instructor(s): Kathleen Cavanaugh, Executive Director, Senior Lecturer, Pozen Family Center for Human Rights     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 24823, HMRT 34823

HMRT 24901. Religion and Human Rights. 100 Units.

Religion played a crucial, but often overlooked, role in the development of post-World War II conceptions of human rights, providing principles and ideas that continue to influence contemporary human rights debates in the fields of law, public policy, and international relations. This no-prior-knowledge-necessary course explores the complex, sometimes fraught, relationship between religion and human rights from World War II to the present. We will begin by juxtaposing the role religious ideas played in the drafting of core post-war human rights documents (e.g. the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, etc.) with the decision by drafters to omit direct references to the divine or the beliefs of specific religious communities. Using case study analysis and close reading of primary religious texts, scholarly commentary, and historical accounts, we will examine the ways in which individuals and groups from multiple religious (and non-religious) traditions both apply and push back against existing human rights norms. Throughout the course we will discuss the role religion might play in debates surrounding emerging, but still contentious, conceptions of human rights. This includes: universal healthcare, LGBTQIA+ rights, ever more complex manifestations of religious freedom, as well as whether human rights as conceived of in the mid-20th Century can be reconciled with decolonial and post-colonial perspectives.

Equivalent Course(s): GLST 24902, GNSE 24903, RLST 24901, DEMS 24901

HMRT 24950. International Disability Rights and Justice. 100 Units.

The rights of persons with disabilities have become a new frontier of human rights across the world. This course introduces recent developments in concepts, tools, and practices of disability rights both internationally and in different regions/countries. We will pay specific attention to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, including its principles, provisions on key topics (e.g., institutionalization, education, employment, and political participation), and the role of state and non-state actors in its implementation. We will also consider the implications of disability rights on global social development and humanitarian work. Moreover, we will critically examine barriers and concerns in realizing disability rights, areas where dominant understandings of disability rights fall short, and alternative approaches to conceptualizing and promoting justice for persons with disabilities. The course will consist of reading and critique of literature, large and small group discussions, guest lectures by practitioners, case studies, and student presentations. Students will develop skills to analyze disability policies or design/evaluate disability inclusive development projects in international settings.

Terms Offered: TBD
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 34951, GNSE 24950, GNSE 34950, SSAD 24950, HLTH 24950, SSAD 64950

HMRT 25011. Imagining the Sanctuary City: Field Research with Migrants and Asylum-Seekers in Chicago. 100 Units.


Instructor(s): Lindsay Gifford     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): HMRT 35011

HMRT 25107. Documentary Production II. 100 Units.

Documentary Production II focuses on the shaping and crafting of a non-fiction video. Enrollment will be limited to those students who have taken CMST 23930 Documentary Production I. The class will discuss issues of ethics, power, and representation in this most philosophical and problematic of genres. Students will be expected to write a treatment outline detailing their project and learn about granting agencies and budgeting. Production techniques will concentrate on the language of handheld camera versus tripod, interview methodologies, microphone placement including working with wireless systems and mixers, and lighting for the interview. Post-production will cover editing techniques including color correction and audio sweetening, how to prepare for exhibition, and distribution strategies. Consent of instructor is required to enroll.

Instructor(s): Staff     Terms Offered: Winter
Prerequisite(s): CMST 23930, HMRT 25106, or ARTV 23930
Equivalent Course(s): MAAD 23931, CMST 33931, CMST 23931, HMRT 35107, ARTV 23931, ARTV 33931, CHST 23931

HMRT 25203. Hong Kong and Human Rights in Asia. 100 Units.

The dynamic city of Hong Kong-a multicultural, special economic zone and a contested democracy with a vibrant popular press and a long history of support for regional grassroots politics-provides the setting for three weeks of investigation of human rights locally and across Asia. Students will become familiar with the human rights challenges facing Hong Kong and the region today. Topics as diverse as labor rights, gender and sexuality, democracy, access to health care and education, and freedom of expression will command our attention. We will also explore the relationship between art, exhibition practices, the media, and human rights. The University of Chicago's new Hong Kong campus will serve as our home base, but much of our time will be spent undertaking short field excursions to speak with human rights actors, journalists, curators, and artists in Hong Kong along with a tentative short trip to southern China. As the capstone of this intensive course, students will create digital, multimedia documentary projects to showcase their engagement with a particular regional or local human rights problem. These projects may combine interviews, photographs and videos, and the production of an original text or artwork.

Instructor(s): M. Bradley & J. Ransmeier
Prerequisite(s): Admission to the September Hong Kong: Human Rights in Asia program
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 24311, EALC 24311

HMRT 25270. Humanitarianism: Anthropological Perspectives. 100 Units.

Humanitarianism has emerged as one of the key principles used by states and non-state agencies to justify or call for interventions in contemporary global crisis situations. From health crises, natural disasters and even political instability, humanitarianism has gained an unprecedented global currency as a language of justice. In the last two decades, anthropologists have shown the complexities of humanitarian interventions and its intended and unintended effects. In this course we trace what humanitarianism means, its moral and ethical underpinnings and what are the consequences of humanitarian action. The course will interrogate some of the philosophical, conceptual underpinnings of the idea and their implications in the real world. We will read a range of ethnographies including refugee rehabilitation in France, military interventions in Iraq, philanthropy in India to understand the ways in which humanitarianism has emerged as a global language of justice. The course will help students understand the problem of humanitarianism at both the global and the local levels and also bridge the gap between the normative and the actual.

Instructor(s): S. Saha Roy     Terms Offered: This course was offered Autumn 2019
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 25270

HMRT 25317. Human Rights Capstone Practice Workshop I. 100.00 Units.

This two-quarter long course exists to support 4th year students who are on the practice intensive capstone track. Students will meet every other week to plan and receive help executing their projects from inception to completion. At every step, student will receive feedback from their peers and from the Director of Practice. The workshop will also likely involve training, including trauma informed research methodology, media strategy, and other topics as relevant. This course is 0 credits in Autumn Quarter and 100 credits in Winter Quarter.

Instructor(s): Pozen Center for Human Rights Director of Practice     Terms Offered: Autumn. Course will have 0 units in Autumn quarter 2023 and 100 units in Winter quarter 2024.

HMRT 25318. Human Rights Capstone Practice Workshop II. 100 Units.

This two-quarter long course exists to support 4th year students who are on the practice intensive capstone track. Students will meet every other week to plan and receive help executing their projects from inception to completion. At every step, student will receive feedback from their peers and from the Director of Practice. The workshop will also likely involve training, including trauma informed research methodology, media strategy, and other topics as relevant. This course is 0 credits in Autumn Quarter and 100 credits in Winter Quarter.

Instructor(s): Pozen Center for Human Rights Director of Practice     Terms Offered: Winter. Course will have 0 units in Autumn quarter 2023 and 100 units in Winter quarter 2024.

HMRT 25408. Human Rights in Japanese History. 100 Units.

This course examines how the modern concept of "rights" and "human rights" localized in Japan and how different parties in Japan have used the language of human rights in attempts to remake Japan's social, cultural, and legal landscape. We will explore a wide range of topics including the translation of Eurocentric rights talk in East Asia, colonization and decolonization, statelessness and migration, transitional justice and reconciliation, biopolitical rights and bio-citizenship, indigenous rights, and women and gender-specific rights. Throughout the course we pay special attention to the ways in which rights talk and human-rights politics in Japan intertwine with the country's efforts to modernize and build the "nation within the empire" and, after its defeat in WWII, to close off its "long postwar" and reconcile with its neighbors. This is an introductory course, and no previous knowledge of Japanese history or the international history of human rights is required. However, you should be prepared to read (and watch, browse, and listen to) a wide array of primary and secondary sources that destabilize the most common vocabulary and concepts we take for granted in contemporary human-rights talk such as race, state responsibility, and the very notion of universalism so central to the idea of human rights.

Instructor(s): K. Pan     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): EALC 24508, HIST 24508

HMRT 25561. Justice at the Margins: Religion, Race, and Resistance Ethics. 100 Units.

How does race shape what we think about what is right and wrong, just and unjust? How about religion? Is "justice" a universal idea that stretches across social groups, or do our experiences as members of a religious and/or racial group have fundamentally affect our understanding(s) of justice? We'll begin by examining works by Aristotle, King, Rawls, and Nussbaum, asking what each theorist thinks justice entails and why. Along the way, we'll ask how stated and suppressed understandings of both "race" and "religion" inform their theories, as well as complicate and challenge them. Then we'll set these theories of justice in conversation with works by Francisco de Vitoria, W.E.B. Du Bois, James Baldwin, Cornel West, Traci C. West, and the Movement for Black Lives, each of which offers a protest against injustice in which "race" and "religion" play a prominent role. No previous knowledge required.

Instructor(s): Derek Buyan     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course counts as an elective course for the "Inequality, Social Problems, and Change" minor and as an approved course for the Democracy Studies minor.
Equivalent Course(s): RDIN 22561, RLST 25561, CRES 22561

HMRT 25704. Environmental Justice in Chicago. 100 Units.

This course will examine the development of environmental justice theory and practice through social scientific and ethical literature about the subject as well as primary source accounts of environmental injustices. We will focus on environmental justice issues in Chicago including, but not limited to waste disposal, toxic air and water, the Chicago heat wave, and climate change. Particular attention will be paid to environmental racism and the often understudied role of religion in environmental justice theory and practice. Throughout the course we will explore how normative commitments are expressed in different types of literature as well as the basis for normative judgments and the types of authorities authors utilize and claim as they consider environmental justice.

Instructor(s): Sarah Fredericks     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Graduate students can enroll with permission of instructor and will have additional requirements.
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 25704, PBPL 25704, CEGU 25704, AMER 25704, KNOW 25704, CRES 25704, RLST 25704, CHST 25704

HMRT 25706. Climate Justice. 100 Units.

Climate injustice includes the disproportionate effects of climate change on people who benefit little from the activities that cause it, generally the poor, people of color, and people marginalized in other ways. Given the complex economic, physical, social, and political realities of climate change, what might climate justice entail? This course explores this complex question through an examination of classical and contemporary theories of justice; the gendered, colonial, and racial dimensions of climate change; and climate justice movements.

Instructor(s): Sarah Fredericks     Terms Offered: Winter
Note(s): Graduates may enroll only with permission of the instructor.
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 25706, RLST 25706, CEGU 25706, KNOW 25706, GLST 25766, GNSE 25702, RDIN 25706, PBPL 25706

HMRT 25900. Digitizing Human Rights. 100 Units.

In an era in which disruptive technologies have hijacked our consciousness and computer code has woven itself into the fabric of our existence, the lines between the virtual and the physical are increasingly blurred, and the nature of human existence itself increasingly uncertain. Digitizing Human Rights invites you to ponder, question, and even reshape the future of the species. We'll consider digital surveillance, data consent, access to tech, online agency, algorithmic bias and the future of artificial intelligence, among other topics. Drawing on cross-disciplinary perspectives, the course aims to illuminate the often misunderstood aspects of the digital age with the goal of creating an annotated digital document to serve as a blueprint for steering humanity towards a more equitable and just -- and perhaps a more secure -- future. Annotations will draw on a broad array of philosophical traditions and contextualize current issues and debates. We will also problematize the document itself to build into our work a consideration of the digital form through which we are thinking and representing claims about humanity, morality, truth, and justice, for example, that are entailed in the project of "human rights." The class will meet both in small groups and the larger seminar to refine the provisions and annotations, review progress, and shape the document as a whole.

Instructor(s): J. Spruill, N. Briz     Terms Offered: May be offered 2024-25
Prerequisite(s): PQ: Third- or fourth-year standing.
Equivalent Course(s): BPRO 25900, MAAD 25900

HMRT 26113. Queer South Asia. 100 Units.

This course explores representations of queerness, same-sex love, sexualities and debates around them by introducing students to a variety of literary texts translated from South Asian languages as well as films, geographically ranging from India and Pakistan to Sri Lanka. We will also read scholarship that will help us place the production and reception of these primary sources in historical, political, cultural and religious contexts. In particular, we will examine questions of history and continuity (recurrent themes and images); form and genre (differences of representation in mythological narratives, poetry, biography, fiction, erotic/legal/medical treatises); the relationship of gender to sexuality (differences and similarities between representations of male-male and female-female relations); queerness as a site for exploring other differences, such as caste or religious difference; and questions of cross-cultural and transnational dialogue and cultural specificity.

Instructor(s): Nisha Kommattam     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): CMLT 26113, SALC 26113, GNSE 23145, CRES 26115

HMRT 26200. Human Rights: An Anthropological Perspective. 100 Units.

While the modern human rights regime developed largely absent input from anthropology, the discipline stakes its scholarly identity on claims to expertise over the nature of human being and the diversity of human experience. Anthropologists have long studied aspects of lived experience of central concern to human rights, including state violence, cultural difference, and structural inequality. In recent decades, they have focused increasing attention on the institutions and practices through which activists adopt and rework human rights concepts in local political and social struggles. Against this backdrop, Human Rights and the Human Experience will deploy anthropology's distinctive knowledge practices and ethical sensitivities to analyze human rights as both global force and as creative resource in local movements for dignity, security, and human flourishing.

Instructor(s): Lake Polan, Pozen Center for Human Rights Social Science Teaching Fellow     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 25215

HMRT 26304. Religion and Abortion in the United States. 100 Units.

In American public discourse, it is common to hear abortion referred to as a "religious issue." But is abortion a religious issue? If so, in what ways, to whom, and since when? In this course we will answer these questions by tracing the relationship between religion and abortion in American history. We will examine the kinds of claims religious groups have made about abortion; how religion has shaped the development of medical, legal, economic, and cultural perspectives on the topic; how debates over abortion have led to the rise of a certain kind of religious politics in the United States; and how issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and the body are implicated in this conversation. Although the course will cover a range of time periods, religious traditions, and types of data (abortion records from Puritan New England, enslaved people's use of root medicine to induce miscarriage, and Jewish considerations of the personhood of the fetus, among others), we will give particular attention to the significance of Christianity in legal and political debates about abortion in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. There are no prerequisites for this course and no background in Religious Studies is required. However, this course may be particularly well-suited to students interested in thinking about how their areas of study (medicine and medical sciences, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, political science) converge with religion and Religious Studies.

Instructor(s): tbd
Equivalent Course(s): PBPL 25304, CCTS 21015, SOCI 20564, GNSE 12115, HIPS 26304, RLST 26304, HIST 28008, HLTH 26304

HMRT 26365. Environmental Justice in the Calumet. 100 Units.

As part of the Calumet Quarter, the Environmental Justice practicum will allow students to engage in research on an issue of environmental justice in the Calumet region. The class will partner with a local community organization to identify and study an environmental concern that disproportionately affects people of color in the area, by learning and implementing research methods in the pursuit of a final project that is presented to the community organization. Among the research methods to be employed will be key informant interviews and a general population survey. Students will be responsible for drafting and revising the survey instruments according to established survey research methods. Students will be expected to work collaboratively both with other students and members of the community in order to be maximally responsive to the needs of local residents.

Instructor(s): Raymond Lodato     Terms Offered: Spring
Note(s): This course is part of the Chicago Studies Quarter: Calumet but may be taken as a standalone class. Students interested in enrolling in all three Calumet Quarter classes should contact For more information on the Calumet quarter, visit This course will include mandatory Friday fieldwork days on 4/15 and 5/13.
Equivalent Course(s): ENST 26365, CHST 26365, PBPL 26365

HMRT 26920. Freedom, Justice and Legitimacy. 100 Units.

In this course we will explore two main questions, which are central to both contemporary political theory and political discourse: (1) how different concepts and conceptions of freedom ground different theories of social justice and political legitimacy and (2) how to understand the relationship between justice and legitimacy. To what extent are justice and legitimacy separate ideas? Does legitimacy require justice? Are just states necessarily legitimate? We will critically analyze and normatively assess how different contemporary theories have answered, whether explicitly or implicitly, such questions. The course will focus on five major contemporary theories: liberal-egalitarianism as represented by the work of John Rawls; libertarianism, as represented by the work of Robert Nozick, neo-Lockean theories as represented by the work of John Simmons, neo-republicanism as represented by the work of Philip Pettit, and neo-Kantian theories as represented by the work of Arthur Ripstein.

Instructor(s): C. Cordelli     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 36920, PLSC 26920, LLSO 26920

HMRT 27002. Norms, Ideas, and Identity in International Politics. 100 Units.

This advanced seminar examines the role of norms, ideas, and identities in world politics. The main goal is to help students understand academic and policy debates over the role of non-material factors in theories of international politics. Our emphasis will be on the tradition of constructivist scholarship in International Relations, its trajectory, and its critics. This course is intended for advanced undergraduates (political science majors and non-majors welcome) with prior coursework in International Relations.

Instructor(s): R. Terman
Equivalent Course(s): PLSC 27002

HMRT 27306. U.S. Women and Gender. 100 Units.

This course studies the history of women, gender relations, and ideas of sex difference from the emergence of the women's rights movement in the 1840s to the rise of women's liberation in the 1960s. Issues of work, rights, citizenship, race, and sexuality take center stage as we explore the social, political, and cultural forces that shaped women's lives and the aspirations and agency of women who sought to transform the rules and relations of gender in the United States. Readings include primary sources as well as classic and recent historical scholarship.

Instructor(s): A. Stanley     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 27306, GNSE 27306, CRES 23700, HIST 27306

HMRT 27321. Legal Borderlands: Spaces of Exception in US History. 100 Units.

The periphery of the United States is not only made up of physical borderlands but also of legal interstitial zones, places that test the reach of American sovereignty. This discussion-based seminar will look at places where American law bumps up against other defining markers, the contact zones that challenge the prevalent legal paradigms. We will examine how these areas define what constitutes an American; how the government makes specific identities within its jurisdiction visible and invisible. Topics we will cover include: statelessness and denaturalization, American extraterritorial courts in China, gender and sexuality under the law, outlawing "coolies," the insular cases and citizen-subjects, and Guantanamo Bay, not to mention the making and unmaking of physical borderlands around the United States.

Instructor(s): Savitri Kunze, Pozen Center for Human Rights Social Science Teaching Fellow     Terms Offered: Winter
Equivalent Course(s): GLST 27321

HMRT 27380. The Ethics of Immigration. 100 Units.

In this course we'll investigate philosophical problems underlying contemporary political controversies about immigration. Together, we'll discuss questions such as the following: What gives one group of people the right to forcibly exclude other people from coming to reside somewhere? Is there such a right at all? What moral authority do existing borders have? What role should the idea of "the nation" play in our thinking about immigration? Indeed, what exactly are nations? And is there a compelling case for the exclusion of immigrants that depends on a commitment to preserving a national culture? All of these questions touch on fundamental issues in political philosophy: the nature of citizenship and its relationship to culture, the source of legitimate authority, the justifiability of state coercion, the content and ground of human rights.

Instructor(s): T. Zimmer     Terms Offered: Autumn
Equivalent Course(s): PHIL 27380

HMRT 27601. Women and Islam. 100 Units.

This course is an introduction to the field of women, gender and Islam. We will examine the literature on Islamic legal, historical, Quranic and sacred textual constructs of women as well as critically explore the lived realities and experiences of Muslim women living in Muslim-majority societies and in the west. In centering the work of Muslim feminist scholars, students will gain an understanding of the contemporary debates around women's rights, sexuality, roles, responsibilities and gender relations in the context of Islamic law and the hadith literature. The discursive constructions and social realities of Muslim women are critically examined through historic and literary representations, ethnographic accounts, human rights discourses, sexual politics and secular and Islamic feminism(s). Moreover, this course situates Muslim women as complex, multidimensional actors engaged in knowledge production and political and feminist struggles, as opposed to the oppressed, victim-centered images that have regained currency in the representation of Muslim women in the post 9/11 era.

Instructor(s): Maliha Chishti     Terms Offered: Autumn
Note(s): This course meets the LMCS or SCSR Committee distribution requirement for Divinity students.
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 27601, GLST 27601, ISLM 37601, GNSE 27608, GNSE 37608

HMRT 27720. Race and Religion in Chicago. 100 Units.

This course will explore the history of race and religion in the United States from the end of the Civil War to the twenty-first century. Taking Chicago as a case study, the course will introduce students to key topics in the study of race and religion in modern American history, considering especially how religion and race are each deeply imprinted by the other. Through close readings of the religious history and culture of Chicago over the last century and a half, the course will focus on Black-White racialization in Chicago, interrogating the construction of and contestation over whiteness among Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and new religious movements, as well as tracing the "spiritual afterlife of slavery" in Chicago's churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship. The readings, guest lectures, field trips, and class discussions will also open out to consider other religious and racial issues and projects in Chicago (e.g., Latinx, Indian American, and Indigenous religious communities).

Instructor(s): Joel Brown
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 27720, CHST 27720, HIST 27311, CRES 22720

HMRT 28005. Illicit Religion: Contesting Religious Freedom under the Law in Modern America. 100 Units.

The "freedom of religion" is one of the United States' most enduring and celebrated national ideals. And yet, rights of religious belief and practice have been contested consistently throughout the history of the nation, transforming both cultural practices and legal definitions of religion. Can American religion be radically free *and* fundamentally subject to the legal definitions and executive constraints of the state? Or is religious freedom under the law impossible, as some scholars have it? In this course, we will examine historical events, legal principles and academic debates over the meaning of religion's "free exercise" in the United States. Three case studies will ground our investigations: the Pueblo Indian dance controversy of the 1920s, the organization of the Church of Scientology in the 1950s and, finally, conflict over property and political rights at Oregon's Rajneeshpuram in the 1980s. Historical and cultural study will be augmented with theory and legal analysis by scholars of American religion and law. The term will end with student presentations on controversial developments in the exercise of religion since 1993's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), including its enforcement of religious boundaries around drug use, gay marriage and women's reproductive health. No prerequisite knowledge of religious tradition, historical period or legal principle is necessary.

Instructor(s): Greg Chatterley     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): RLST 28005, AMER 28005, HIST 27120

HMRT 28723. Music as Trauma and Recovery Post-1900. 100 Units.

This course for undergraduate majors and non-majors critically explore the role of music in acts of mourning, resistance, and healing as well as in moments contributing to trauma and recovery. Each week will center around a different case study of an instance in which music has been a primary agent for documentation, memorialization, and healing for both the individual and the collective. We will engage with a wide array of both popular and art musical materials. Throughout the class, we will ask: How might music be used to cause harm? What are the ethical implications of beautiful music? Why does some music aesthetically lend itself to ideas of recovery? How do we contend with music's alleged universality and its position as a human right when it has the potentiality to both scar and soothe? In addressing these questions, we will contend with the role of musicology and humanistic research in times of upheaval. Please be aware that this course will cover sensitive topics including: military, racialized, sexual, and domestic violence.

Instructor(s): Natalie Farrell, Pozen Center for Human Rights Graduate Lecturer     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): MUSI 28723

HMRT 29120. Poverty Law and Policy Reform. 100 Units.

This seminar seeks to give students a comprehensive understanding of the major anti-poverty programs in the United States with an emphasis on current challenges and reform proposals. We will spend the first half of the course exploring the implementation and evaluation of the programs that make up the traditional safety net for poor Americans: income supports, health insurance, and housing assistance. We will spend the rest of the quarter exploring topics that complicate the traditional social policy regime, including how the safety net is more robust for some groups, such as the elderly and veterans, than others. We will explore how the legal systems of immigration and incarceration hamper anti-poverty policy and how safety net programs address the needs of rural and Native Americans. Finally, we will investigate two recent developments in the field: social entrepreneurship and the critique of procedural rights.

Instructor(s): Andrew Hammond
Prerequisite(s): No first year students; attendance on the first day of class is required.
Equivalent Course(s): LLSO 29120, PBPL 29120

HMRT 29432. How (Not) to Save the World: The History of International Development. 100 Units.

The drive to deliver humanitarian aid and improved living standards to the world far beyond one's own borders is a distinctively modern phenomenon. This course introduces students to the theories, actors, and practices that have shaped international development. We will explore the colonial origins of development as an idea, its evolution during the Cold War, and the implications of today's more multipolar world. We will see how different strategies have risen and fallen from favor, from big dams to trade to private philanthropy. Alongside scholarly histories, we will read reflections by development practitioners and critics and examine concrete case studies of development projects in action around the world.

Instructor(s): E. Chatterjee     Terms Offered: Spring
Equivalent Course(s): GLST 29431, HIST 29431

HMRT 29604. Topics in Critical Theory: Constitutionalism and Rights. 100 Units.

(Brief/keyword description) - Historicizing and theorizing constitutionalism, rights and the law from the South. Particular empirical focus on South Africa, will also draw on Indian, other African and Latin American material, and think Euro-American genealogies of law and rights from these global Southern locations.

Instructor(s): Kaushik Sunder Rajan
Prerequisite(s): 3rd or 4th year standing
Note(s): This is a 3CT Capstone course.
Equivalent Course(s): ANTH 29604

HMRT 29861. Radical America. 100 Units.

This course explores various sorts of radicalisms in America (religious, political, sexual, environmental) from the eighteenth century to the present.

Instructor(s): J. Dailey
Equivalent Course(s): HIST 27119, HIST 37119


Faculty Director

Pozen Center Faculty Director; Bernadotte E. Schmitt Professor in History and the College
Mark Philip Bradley
SS 502

Undergraduate Primary Contact

Associate Instructional Professor
Ben Laurence
5720 S. Woodlawn Ave., Room 208A


Administrative Contact

Office Administrator
Kathy Scott
5720 S. Woodlawn Ave., Room 213