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If – as Carl von Clausewitz famously put it – war is “a continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means,” then the targeting and killing of civilians in war is often “a continuation of war by other means.” Noncombatants historically have comprised half of all war deaths, a proportion that is increasing rather than decreasing in recent times. What explains this carnage? Why do states and rebel groups put civilians in the cross-hairs in some wars but not others? What norms and laws protect civilians from harm, and why do they seem to be observed so rarely? What are some of the major cases of violence against civilians in the last 100 years and why did they occur? This course aims to answer some of these questions by examining the normative, ethical, and legal prohibitions against harming noncombatants and how they arose; the major social science theories for explaining large-scale violence against civilians in wartime; and a close study of several prominent cases of wartime victimization of noncombatants. For more information, see www.duke.edu/~downes/186.pdf.
This service learning course examines and puts into practice the Theater of the Oppressed techniques developed by Brazilian director and theorist Augusto Boal. After spending the first month of class studying Boal and developing your “arsenal” of TO techniques, you will join with a team composed of Duke/UNC students and local middle or high school students to create original, interactive theater pieces based on interpersonal/social issues. Through theater, and through the pairing of Duke and UNC students with teams of local students, the course will be a very immediate and hands-on exploration of race and class relations here in central North Carolina. There are no pre-requisites for this course! FOR MORE, SEE HERE.
This course has two objectives: to introduce students to historical thinking and writing and to familiarize students with the history of U.S. government efforts to overturn sovereign regimes abroad. Although the readings will concentrate on interventions in Latin America, we will also consider other regions, and students are free to develop research projects on interventions in any region. The first half of the semester will concentrate on developing an understanding of primary and secondary sources as well as some of the significant debates in the historiography of U.S. foreign policy. During the second half of the semester, students will focus more on developing their own research projects, and we will read secondary works that demonstrate a range of methodological approaches in the field. For more, see here.
This is a philosophy course on global justice, focusing, as the title indicates, on the question of responsibility for responding to global injustices. For graduate students only.
This is not a “how to” course for human rights activists. Instead, its aim is to step back and think critically and rigorously about the idea of human rights and the contemporary human rights enterprise broadly conceived. We will examine and evaluate alternative conceptions of human rights, articulate and evaluate various types of purported justifications for saying that there are human rights and grapple with the problem of specifying the content of various putative human rights in such a way as to guide policy. In the instructor’s opinion, prejudices concerning human rights abound: some enthusiasts for human rights have little grasp of the history, meaning, and problematic aspects of human rights discourse and practice; and many who disparage human rights discourse or practice misunderstand what human rights are, and are uninformed about or inadequately appreciative of the strengths of human rights discourse and practice. This course is intended to challenge prejudices of both kinds.
This course examines premodern judicial arrangements and the contestations surrounding their modern incarnations. Topics include bioethics, human rights, gender and family law, war and peace, environmental issues, and political ethics. For more information, see here.
This course applies theories of trauma to visual representations of violence, destruction, and pain in contemporary art, film, and literature, examining the topic through multiple subjects from the Holocaust, cults, gangs, racism, and sexual abuse to cultures of trauma. Students will gain the visual acuity to identify, understand, empathize, and respond to traumatic subjectivity and its images.
If American academic lawyers (untrained in development) and “values-exporting” politicians brought the “Law and Development” movement into vogue in the 1960′s, only to declare failure in the 70′s; in the last decade of the 20th century, a cosmopolitan set of (untrained in law) development economists, economic historians and political scientists revived the coupling of these fields. Following their lead, lawyers and policymakers across the development board – from the World Bank, to bilateral aid agencies, to developing countries and to civil society organizations like Oxfam and more locally based institutions – have returned to the multi-disciplinary enterprise. Does law matter to development outcomes? Or, put another way, is “legal development” integral to the “development process”? If so, why and how? What policy ideas can or should be pursued based on an understanding of the intersections between law and development? What research and policy initiatives are currently underway in the name of this intersection? Because all these questions depend on contested ideas of development and of law in the first instance, what is the array of working definitions and frameworks that practitioners and policymakers deploy? What turns can we anticipate the “law and development” field might take next? With readings by lawyers, policymakers, economists, anthropologists, ethicists, political and other social scientists, this seminar will explore contemporary understandings of law and development from “rule of law” to “good governance” to “doing business” and promoting capitalism to “judicial and legal reform” to promoting “J4P” (“justice for the poor”) to breaking – or at least not reinforcing – “poverty and inequality traps” and empowering the poor. The course is intended for graduate students (with and without legal backgrounds) interested in probing or promoting this interdisciplinary engagement.
One story of the relationship between human rights and conflict is told in the Preamble to the UN Charter: the human rights framework of our age came about /because of/ the 20th century’s two world wars. But for the “untold sorrow” brought about by these conflicts, so the story goes, there would have been no effective demand for and no construction of a set of legal, political and ethical norms intended to help “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” In this introductory course we will examine the link between human rights and conflict in an interdisciplinary fashion. What are the multiple ways in which the law and political advocacy of human rights relate to conflict? Do demands for human rights precipitate or fuel–as much as prevent–conflicts, whether as war or in other forms of large scale suffering? Are human rights essential for what the field of conflict resolution has termed “positive peace”? Should policymakers involved in multiple stages of conflict, both inter- and intrastate, be more cautious about viewing rights as a remedy for conflicts? What are the relevant ethical considerations? With the benefit of greater analytical and contextual understanding of competing priorities and tradeoffs, what positive role might be cast for human rights in the conflicts of the 21st century? To consider these and other questions, we will draw substantially on historical and policy analyses, learning the legal/political history of the contemporary framework for human rights and connecting it to real-world efforts underway by lawyers and other practitioners to reframe and transform conflict and build peace. There is no expectation that students have a special expertise in law.