Human Rights

Course Information

Course Number
Curriculum Level
Areas of Study
Human Rights

Section 001 Information


Section Description

This is a core course in the Law School's human rights curriculum. After introducing the subject in the context of a case study on extraordinary rendition of terrorism suspects, the course examines the origins of the idea of rights from an historical, philosophical and analytical perspective. It then turns to the rise of the modern international human rights regime, including its origins and theoretical foundations, examines the basic international and regional human rights instruments and oversight and enforcement institutions, and considers remedies under both international and domestic law. The course considers the role of human rights law in the U.S. domestic system, as an example of the role of national law and institutions in securing human dignity. It also considers the human rights of women and refugees, the role of nongovernmental organizations in developing and protecting human rights, the relationship between international criminal law and international humanitarian law and human rights law, and the human rights responsibilities of business enterprises. The final segment of the course examines selected rights from a comparative perspective (including international, U.S., and other national approaches), including comparative approaches to such topics as the right to life and the death penalty, privacy, protection of economic and social rights, equality and privacy in the context of LGBT rights, and the protection of rights in counterterrorism efforts.

School Year & Semester
Fall 2019
JGH 103
Class meets on
  • Tuesday
  • Thursday
10:40 - 12:00 pm
Method of Evaluation
J.D Writing Credit?

Learning Outcomes

  • The historical and intellectual origins of the concept of human rights
  • Differing perspectives on the role and content of rights
  • Interpretation and analysis of human rights norms, particularly treaty interpretation
  • Doctrinal analysis, including close reading of cases and precedents and an ability to compare approaches from different fora and jurisdictions.
  • The functioning and evolution of international and regional mechanisms established to oversee and promote compliance with human rights
  • The political and legal interaction between national governments and human rights law and institutions
  • The role of non-governmental actors in promoting human rights

Course Limitations

Instructor Pre-requisites
There is no prerequisite.
Instructor Co-Requisites
Recommended Courses
Other Limitations