Approved by Faculty Senate

NEW COURSE PROPOSAL

 

Human Rights in Theory and Practice, POLS 240

 COURSE DESCRIPTION

    1. Catalog Description
    2. Human rights are those rights possessed by individuals by virtue of being human. They are distinct from civil rights, which are guaranteed by civil societies. This course will seek to identify the basic human rights of individuals as human beings, the evolution of these rights, the philosophical foundations of those rights, and the legal remedies available to victims of violations. The course will discuss the roles of national and international communities in protecting human rights including the establishment of a permanent criminal court to prosecute human rights violations.

       

    3. Major Focus and Objectives of the Course

The course aims to provide students with a broad working knowledge of human rights as both an intellectual discourse and a realm of political action. The first part of the course deals with the emergence and institutionalization of human rights in the 20th century. It will begin with consideration of its roots in political theory (social contract, right of man, sovereignty, conventional and customary international law), which gave rise to the "first generation" of human rights: political and civil rights. The course will then move to consider the transformation and extension of human rights into the social and economic realms, "second generation" human rights, and the emergence of a "third generation" pertaining to the rights of peoples (i.e., social activities). The course will discuss and examine the debates over the universality of existing human rights’ instruments and the substance of critiques that human rights’ standards are biased in favor of Western socio-political formations. In this regard, the issue of women’s human rights, which tends to be central to the debates over universalism vs. cultural relativism, will receive special attention.

The second part of the course will consider some of the practical dimension of human rights from a variety of angles. Among these will be:

bulletHuman rights as a form of international politics, and the difficulties of enforcing international standards and protection in the state-centered international order, bulletThe cooptation of human rights discourse by state governments to serve political ends, and the way in which international politics shape the articulation of criticisms by international human rights’ organizations in the format of published reports.

The last part of the semester will focus on more in-depth examination of several distinct human rights issues: torture, genocide, humanitarian intervention, and prosecution of perpetrators.

 

 

 

    1. Course Outline of Major Topics and Subtopics

 

    1. What are Human Rights?
    2. Why Study Human Rights? (Outcomes A,B,C,D,E,F)
    3. Theories of Human Rights (Outcomes A,B,C,D)
      1. Natural law
      2. Divine law
      3. Views of major religions
    4. Universalism vs. Relativism (Outcomes A,B,C,D,E,F)
      1. Western experiences
      2. Non-Western experience
      3. Cultural component
    5. History of the Evolution of Human Rights (Outcomes A,B,D,E)
      1. First generation: political and civil
      2. Second generation: social and economic
      3. Third generation: rights of peoples
    6. Practical Dimensions of Human Rights (Outcomes B,D,E,F)
      1. As a form of international politics
        1. State sovereignty
        2. International standards and protections
        3. State-centered international order
      2. Cooptation of human rights by states for political ends
        1. The Carter administration’s foreign policy focus
        2. International politics and international human rights’ organizations
    7. In-depth examination of selected cases (Outcomes A,B,C,D,E,F)
      1. Torture
      2. Genocide
      3. Humanitarian intervention
      4. Prosecution of perpetrators
    8. Looking Into the Future (Outcomes A,B,C,D,F)
      1. The permanent international criminal court
      2. The United Nations and regional international organizations
      3. State actions

 

    1. Basic Instructional Plan and Methods Utilized
    2. Class periods will consist of a mixture of lectures and class discussions. Students will be divided into clusters. Each cluster will focus on a number of issues in human rights for in-depth research. Each cluster will make both oral and written reports to the class. To the extent possible, electronic and other audio-video material will be utilized to acquire and demonstrate knowledge of the subject.

       

    3. Course Requirements and Means of Evaluation
bulletTwo papers (approximately 1500 words/6 pages each), one on the first part of the course and the other on the second part of the course. (20% each) bulletA group project, a group report and individual reports (1500 words/6 pages) on the third part of the course. (20%) bulletRevising and resubmitting one of the first two papers. (10%) bulletA final examination. (30%)

 

 

    1. Textbooks or Alternatives
    2. Brown, Seyom, Human Rights in World Politics, New York: Longman. 2000. ISBN 0-321-02547-4.

      Hannum, Hurst, ed., Guide to International Human Rights Practice, 3rd ed., Ardsley, NY: Transaction Publishers. 1000. ISBN 1-57105-057-4.

       

    3. References and Bibliography

See Reference and Bibliography List attached.

 

  1. RATIONALE
  2. This course will fill a void in the University’s curriculum. Human rights are one of the newest areas of interest in the study of political science and international relations. The global community witnessed major violations of human rights during the twentieth century. Only the major ones have attracted much attention (Nazi and Soviet genocides, the Pol Pot regime’s atrocities in Kampuchea, the Burundi-Rwanda genocides of Hutus and Tutsis, the Balkan massacres of the 1990’s, the Russian treatment of the Chechens, etc.). Will the twenty first century’s course of events be a rerun of its predecessor? These are issues that concern every human being. The course is not designed to be restricted to political science students but to have a universal appeal to all students, regardless of major or minor. No courses will be deleted from the curriculum if this course is approved.

  3. NOTIFICATION
  4. This course does not affect the number of credits in any of the majors or minors offered by any department in the university and does not duplicate the offerings of any other department. Thus, notification is not necessary.

  5. "G" COURSES
  6. Does not apply.

  7. UNIVERSITY STUDIES COURSE PROPOSAL JUSTIFICATION

The University Studies’ requirements call for a category of contemporary citizenship. This course should satisfy this requirement as it focuses the student’s attention on the fact that one is not only a citizen of one state/country but also a citizen of the world and part of the human species. It calls for active involvement in one of the critical global issues. It should be open to all students.

This course will promote students’ abilities to

bulletUnderstand the principles upon which democratic governments are based, bulletUnderstand the problems of democracy and the conditions that favor or disfavor it, bulletIdentify, state, and justify value judgments related to democratic institutions, bulletUnderstand the nature of non-democratic institutions, bulletUnderstand the implications of taking responsibility for the consequences of their own actions for democratic institutions, bulletUnderstand the relation of equal rights to democratic institutions and/or bulletUnderstand the need to exercise responsibility for the expression of their ideas.

University Studies Course Proposal Form

1. Department or Program Political Science and Public Administration

2. Course Number 240

3. Semester Hours 3

4. Frequency of Offering Once annually

5. Course Title Human Rights in Theory and Practice

6. Catalog Description

Human rights are those rights possessed by individuals by virtue of their being human. They are distinct from civil rights that are granted and guaranteed by civil societies. This course seeks to identify the rights of individuals, as human beings, the evolution of these rights, their philosophical bases, and the legal and social remedies available to victims of violations. The course will discuss the roles of the national and international communities in protecting human rights, including the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

7. This is an existing course previously approved by A2C2 No

8. This is a new course proposal Yes

9. University Studies Requirement this course would satisfy Democratic Institutions

10. Department Contact Person for this course Yogesh Grover – 457-5415 ygrover@winona.edu

11. General Course Outcomes

This course seeks to provide students with a broader working knowledge of human rights at the intellectual and practical levels. The course will encourage students to participate in finding solutions to problems related to violations of human rights.

12. Course Outcomes

    1. Understand the principles upon which democratic governments are based
    2. The Nuremberg Trials were the first international effort to focus attention on human rights. They demonstrated that human rights should not be left to the purview of the state and its institutions. Human rights abuses can occur within the boundaries of totalitarian regimes as well as democratic ones. The Nazi regime was brought to German political scene through democratic institutions. Students will be expected to learn and understand the conditions under which human rights can be abused and how they can be protected.

    3. Understand the problems of democracy and the conditions under which they can be favored or disfavored
    4. The collapse of Yugoslavia resulted in massive human rights abuses in the Balkan area. The rise of Nazi Germany resulted in human rights abuses in Eastern and Western Europe. The colonial experiences of Rwanda and Burundi resulted in genocidal conflicts in the post-colonial era. When democratic governments are left to operate without checks on the manner by which a majority rules, the outcome is victimization of human rights. Students will be expected to learn and understand the problems created by democracies that run amok.

    5. Understand the nature of non-democratic institutions
    6. That a regime applies democratic concepts to the ruling class there are no guarantees for protection of the rights of the majority, or minority (e. g., South Africa under apartheid, and the Palestinian population in the Israeli occupied territories). By studying the safeguards and protections offered by democratic institutions and constitutions, and by comparing these guarantees with those offered by non-democratic ones, students should be able to understand why democracies are more capable of protecting human rights than non-democratic ones.

    7. Understand the implications of taking responsibility for the consequences of their own actions for democratic institutions
    8. The actions of Lt. Kelly and Col. Medina during the Vietnam War could not be justified on the premise that they were following orders of their superiors. Individuals’ acts are their own responsibility. Rapists and child killers in war situations do not typically follow the orders of their superiors. The Nuremberg Trials affirmed the culpability of individuals for their own actions. In face of human rights violations, violators and those who stand by inertly can be considered equally culpable.

      Students will be encouraged to be involved in organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

    9. Understand the relation of equal rights to democratic institutions

Human rights are rights that individuals acquire from the time of conception. They are not granted by civil societies, nor are they results of a "social contract" achieved between the people and their sovereign. They are rights that are inalienable and cannot be ceded voluntarily. When democratic societies protect the human rights of their citizens political stability ensues. When citizens are discriminated against because of specific social conditions their human rights are abuses and instability could be the outcome.

 

 

 

 

Department of Political Science

P.S. 240 -  ISSUES IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS:

HUMAN RIGHTS IN THEORY AND PRACTICE

Spring, 2002

Year and Semester Professor Office  Office Hours Telephone Fax E-Mail
Spring, 2001 Dr. Ahmed El-Afandi 119 Minne
Hall
1:00 - 2:30 MW
or by appointment
(507)457-5403 (507)457-5086 wnelafand@winona.edu

 

SYLLABUS

Course Focus Instructional Plan Attendance Writing Assignments and Reports
  Textbooks Assignments  

 

Writing Your Report Academic Integrity

 

SYLLABUS

1.    Major Focus and Objectives of the Course:

 

This course meets the Democratic Institutions requirement of the University Studies Program.  It also meets the requirements of the major and minor in political science.

The course aims to provide students with a broad working knowledge of human rights as both an intellectual discourse and a realm of political action. The first part of the course deals with the emergence and institutionalization of human rights in the 20th Century. It will begin with consideration of its roots in political theory (social contract, right of man, sovereignty, conventional and customary international law), which gave rise to the "first generation" of human rights: political and civil rights. The course will then move to consider the transformation and extension of human rights into the social and economic realms, "second generation" human rights, and the emergence of a "third generation" pertaining to the rights of peoples (i.e.; social activities). The course will discuss and examine the debates over the universality of existing human rights instruments and the substance of critiques that human rights standards are biased in favor of Western socio-political formations. In this regard, the issue of women's human rights, which tends to be central to the debates over universalism vs. cultural relativism will receive special attention.

 The second part of the course will consider some of the practical dimensions of human rights from a variety of angles. Among these will be: bulletHuman rights as a form of international politics, and the difficulties of enforcing international standards and protection in the state-centered international order; bulletThe cooptation of human rights discourse by state governments to serve political ends, and the way in which international politics shape the articulation of criticisms by international human rights organizations in the format of published reports.

 The last part of the semester will focus on more in-depth examination of several distinct human rights issues: torture, genocide, humanitarian intervention, and prosecution of perpetrators.

Student Learning Objectives

Students in this class should gain an appreciation of the issues involved in the question of human rights, as distinct from "civil rights".  Questions to ask with regard to human rights include, but are not limited to: "What are the universal rights that everyone enjoys regardless of time and space, gender and age ... etc.?"; "How were these rights acquired?"; "Who is likely to violate these rights?"; "Who should safeguard these rights?"; "What are the obligations of individuals, governments, and local and international communities when these rights are violated?"

 

University Studies Outcomes:

a. Understand the principles upon which democratic governments are based;
b. Understand the problems of democracy and the conditions that favor or disfavor it;
c. Identify, state, and justify value judgments related to democratic institutions;
d. Understand the nature of non-democratic institutions;
e. Understand the implications of taking responsibility for the consequences of their own actions for democratic institutions;
f. Understand the relation of equal rights to democratic institutions;
g. Understand the need to exercise responsibility for the expression of their ideas.

Students who complete this course are expected, at a minimum, to have attained the following outcomes:

a. Understand the principles upon which democratic governments are based;
b. Understand the problems of democracy and the conditions that favor or disfavor it;
c. Identify, state, and justify value judgments related to democratic institutions;
d. Understand the nature of non-democratic institutions;
e. Understand the implications of taking responsibility for the consequences of their own actions for democratic institutions;
f. Understand the relation of equal rights to democratic institutions.

 

2. Instructional Plan and Expectations of Students:

Students are expected to read the required material before coming to class in order to facilitate discussion. Class periods will consist of a mixture of lectures and class discussions. Students are expected to attend class regularly and be prepared to respond when called upon during discussions.

Expectations of students:

Students are expected to:

    1. Do the assigned readings and come to class prepared;
    2. Participate in class discussions by offering opinions and raising issues for discussion;
    3. Take responsibility for their learning process by consulting with the professor regarding any unclear issues and any difficulties they might have in the course. The professor is not a mind reader. He has no way of knowing what difficulties students might be having if they are not brought to his attention.
    4. Attend class regularly and be prompt in their attendance. To fully participate in the class and gain the expected insights, students should make every effort to be present in every class period not only physically but also mentally.

Expectations of professor:

The professor is expected to:

    1. Be present during class periods, but if he must miss one or more class periods to inform the students in advance, whenever possible;
    2. To come to class prepared and to present the material in a clear and concise manner that helps students comprehend the topics;
    3. Communicate with the students at their level of comprehension;
    4. Explain issues by different ways and means that enable the greatest comprehension of the material;
    5. Foster student enthusiasm and interest in the topic;
    6. Be accessible to students in and outside the classroom;
    7. Show even handedness and impartiality between the students, and offer no favoritism;
    8. Evaluate students’ performance objectively on the basis of its quality, not on the basis of whether or not their views agree with his;
    9. Provide students with feedback on their assigned tasks in a timely and constructive manner;
    10. Not act as a substitute for the students’ efforts to gain knowledge;
    11. Help build self-confidence in students by encouraging and guiding students to find solutions for their problems, but to not solve the students’ problems for them.

Return to top

 

3. ATTENDANCE:

To the extent that this is an upper level class in a specialized area of knowledge, and the fact that the class is small in size, an absence by a single student will have an adverse effect on all those present in class. Unless there is a truly valid excuse for absence, students should endeavor to be present during all class sessions and to be prompt in showing up for class.  Your physical and mental presence in class are essential and your views are highly valued.

 

4.    Textbooks:

Brown, Seyom, Human Rights in World Politics.  New York: Longman. 2000.  ISBN:0-321-02547-4.

 Hannum, Hurst, ed., Guide to International Human Rights Practice.  3rd ed.  Ardsley, NY: Transaction Publishers. 1999.  ISBN: 1-57105-057-4.

 

5.    Examinations:

 Writing assignments and reports: 

bulletTwo papers (approximately 1500 words/6 pages each) one on the first part of the course and the other on the second part of the course. (20% each) bulletA group project, a group report and individual reports (1500 words/6 pages) on the third part of the course. (20%) bulletRevising and resubmitting one of the first two papers. (10%) bulletA final examination.  (30%)

Final Exam: May 1, 2001; 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

 

Bibliography:

 Keeping in mind that the WSU Library resources on human rights need to be built up, the following are suggested reading. There is a substantial body of knowledge related to this topic on the Internet.  bulletAmnesty International USA Legal Support Network, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948-1988 (New York: AI - USA, 1988). bulletAmnesty International, Bosnia-Herzgovina: Rape and Sexual Abuse by Armed Forces, 1993. bulletAmnesty International, Women in the Middle East: Human Rights Under Attack, 1995. bulletAndreopoulos, George J., Richard Pierre Claude, eds. Human Rights Education for the Twenty-First Century (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997). bulletAndreopoulos, George, ed., Genocide: The Conceptual and Historical Dimensions (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994). bulletAn-Naim, Abdullahi Ahmed, Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspectives: A Quest for Consensus (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992). bulletArat, Zehra F., Democracy and Human Rights in Developing Countries (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1991). bulletBrownlie, Ian, Basic Documents on Human Rights (3rd ed., Oxford: Clarendon Press 1993). bulletBuergenthal, Thomas, International Human Rights in a Nutshell (St. Paul: West Publishing, 1988). bulletBunch, Charlotte and Niamh Reilly, Demanding Accountability: The Global Campaign and Vienna Tribunal for Women's Human Rights. bulletClaude, Richard Pierre & Burns Watson, Human Rights in the World Community (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992). bulletDonnelly, Jack, International Human Rights (2nd ed., Boulder: Westview, 1998). bulletDrinan, Robert F., Cry of the Oppressed (New York: Harper & Row, 1993). bulletForsythe, David P., Human Rights and World Politics (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989). bulletGourevitch, Philip, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families. Stories from Rwanda. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998). bulletGriffith, Ivelaw L. and Betty N. Sedoc-Dahlberg, eds., Democracy and Human Rights in the Caribbean.  (Boulder: Westview, 1997). bulletHall, Katherine, International Human Rights Law: A Resource Guide (New York: The Aspen Institute - Justice and Society Program, 1993). bulletHoward, Rhoda E., Human Rights and the Search for Community. (Boulder: Westview, 1995). bulletHuman Rights Watch & ACLU, Human Rights Violations in the United States, (1993). bulletHuman Rights Watch World Report 1998 (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1997). bulletHunter, Kenneth and Timothy Mack, eds. International Rights and Responsibilities for the Future. bulletIshay, Micheline R., ed, The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches, and Documents From the Bible to the Present (New York: Routledge, 1997). bulletJuvlier, Peter, Freedom's Ordeal: The Struggle for Rights and Democracy in Post-Soviet States (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998). bulletNewman, Frank and David Weissbrodt, International Human Rights: Law, Policy, and Process (2nd ed., Cincinnati: Anderson Publishing Co., 1996). bulletNino, Carlos S., Radical Evil on Trial (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996). bulletPeters, Julie and Andrea Wolper, Women's Rights Human Rights. bulletState Department Country Reports for 1996. (Washington, D. C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1997. Annual) bulletSteiner, Henry and Philip Alston, International Human Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals (Oxford U. Press, 1996). bulletSteiner, Henry and Philip Alston, International Human Rights Law (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995). bulletWeiss, Thomas and Cindy Collins, Humanitarian Challenges and Intervention (2nd ed., Boulder: Westview, 2000).