Course Spotlight: Politics of Human Rights


This eight week online course provides an overview of human rights in international politics. The course will cover the origins of human rights, the main international and regional human rights treaties, the main international and regional human rights institutions, and a number of core debates in the field of human rights. In the second half of the course, we shall focus on two human rights issues: 1) how to prevent and mitigate genocide and other forms of atrocities and 2) how to achieve accountability for past human rights crimes on a large scale.

The big question that animates the course is: do international human rights commitments make a difference? If so, through what mechanisms? If not, why not? There are two writing assignments, as well as weekly quizzes and discussion posts. The lectures will be audio podcasts to increase accessibility and flexibility.


International Studies- Political Science 434
4 credits
Summer 2020 (June 15- August 9)


Professor Scott Straus