Advocacy & Social JusticeGovernment & Policy

GOVT 396 – Human Rights Advocacy: Critical Assessment and Practical Engagement in Global Social Justice

The core animating principles and practices of human rights are under threat. Will the global human rights movement be able to respond effectively? How could or should the movement advance the cause of global social justice most effectively? This seminar seeks to answer these questions by assessing global rights defense and social justice practice and by engaging in structured, self-critical human rights advocacy.

Among the issues considered in this seminar will be the following: What are the origins of the human rights movement? Has the movement been dominated by ideas from the West and elite organizations from the Global North? What does it mean to be a human rights activist? What is the role of documentation, legal advocacy, and social media in human rights advocacy? What are the main challenges and dilemmas facing those engaged in rights promotion and defense?

Students will be required to write several short reflection papers. The final project will be an exercise in developing a human rights advocacy project or supervised engagement in actual human rights advocacy in conjunction with the University Network for Human Rights ( This class is limited to students already admitted to the Human Rights Advocacy Minor.

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