November 15, 2011 3:43 pm
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History 228S will examine 20th century social movements in the United States, with a particular emphasis on the civil rights movement and the women’s movement. Readings will focus on the ways in which the two movements evolved, their relation to each other and their relative success or failure in shaping significant change within American society. Readings will average 250-300 pages a week, with one short paper and a take-home final.
This course introduces students to Israeli and Palestinian culture, politics, and society and the central historical events of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Our examination follows a historical progression, beginning with early Zionist settlement in Palestine in the late nineteenth century and concluding with the Peace Process of the 1990s, the second Palestinian uprising (Intifada), the Islamic movements, and changes in contemporary Israeli society. Weekly topics include: nationalism, refugees, human rights, the Israeli occupation, Palestinians and the Arab World, resistance movements, popular culture, gender and identity, religion and politics. We will study scholarly writing from the disciplines of anthropology, history, and cultural studies and consider the relationship between their different arguments and methodologies. We will also examine the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through popular film, memoirs, short stories, comic books, human rights reports, and political treatises.
Americans singing “Biko, Biko” arguably did more to keep South African state murder under the world spotlight than the inquest that followed his death in custody. This course explores the strategic embrace of the arts and human rights and the ways it complicates political, ethical, aesthetic and legal discourse. On the one hand, human rights lawyers and advocates turn to artists and the arts to “make a case” that the lawyers and advocates themselves suggest are beyond the law to make. The movie Hotel Rwanda, for example, is specially screened in the White House to argue for intervention in Darfur, Sudan. The New York Times reports that the movie’s star is able to get high-level political audiences unavailable to the legal advocacy group with which he is working. On the other hand, those who would violate human rights also enlist the power of artists and the arts in their service. A Rwandan singer currently stands indicted before the War Crimes Tribunal for his role in encouraging citizen against citizen genocide. Lawyers may ask the tribunal to scrutinize lyrics for genocidal intent or introduce music tapes into evidence.
Examples abound around the world and here in the US where the arts (music, drama, film, visual art, literature, dance) have been entwined with campaigns both to violate and to defend human rights. This course asks questions such as these: What are we to make of the real world relationship between human rights law and advocacy and artistic expression? What unique contributions does the world of the arts and human rights law each make to ensuring, sustaining and promoting human rights? What are the distinct features of human rights law (primarily international but also national) and of artistic practice that enable each to make the kind of contributions it does? When each field reaches its particular limits, what happens? Do artists allow themselves to be instruments of injustice, the effects of which are typically beyond the reach of the law? Do lawyers reach out to artists to make ethical arguments and build political constituencies that they as lawyers cannot? Are there dangers in deploying art in the service of legal, political and ethical agendas? Or could there be a scenario where “good” art is at once “good” law? How might one rethink fundamentally local, historically contingent, socially specific ideas about value (moral, artistic, social) against the universalist premise of human rights?
The course invites students to critically assess the intersection of human rights and the arts–in our readings, screenings, guest concerts, course projects and the many campaigns playing out daily on the world stage. Students who wish to take leadership roles as artists, lawyers, policy analysts, policy advocates, or activists working along the political and ethical faultlines of this century will build a good intellectual foundation to do so while learning to talk across disciplines about shared interests. Although case studies will be drawn from around the world and from multiple art forms, South African examples will feature prominently, as will music.
The modern African American freedom struggle – better known as the American Civil Rights Movement – remains one of the most recognizable historical periods in the American consciousness. The images of mass marches, national leaders, and hope-inspiring speeches are conjured up annually when the nation memorializes Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month. But what do we really know about what has been called the most influential U.S. social movement in the twentieth century? When did it begin, and when did it end? What did it actually achieve, and how? What was its legacy, and what does it mean today? Using a variety of texts – from secondary and primary written sources to music, film, and oral histories – this course will explore how African Americans, building upon centuries of struggle, launched a mass movement for social, political, and economic change in the decades after World War II. Concentrating on the period between 1945 and 1975, the course will examine the evolution and character of this movement; the complex dynamics of organizing for social change; the individuals, groups and organizations that made up the movement; and the negotiations between local, grassroots organizers and more nationally-oriented concerns and leaders. The course will also examine the role of whites, both as allies and foes to the movement’s objectives; the relationship of Black Power to civil rights; and the broader context from which the movement emerged.
While legislators and politicians around the world make decisions in city halls and assemblies, every day millions of people take their grievances to the streets. Mass demonstrations, sit-ins, the occupation of government buildings, and land invasions are among the most common forms of political participation around the world today. This seminar course will critically introduce you to the two dominant paradigms in the study of contentious mobilization: economic theories of collective action and sociological theories of social movements. We will identify the virtues and shortcomings of both paradigms and lay out the foundations of a political theory of collective action and social movements. For this purpose, in the second part of the course we venture into the study of dissident collective action in autocracies, democracies, and hybrid regimes (e.g. electoral autocracies). Based on new formal models of political regimes, we will explore how political institutions and elite strategies of state repression shape dissident collective action under different types of political regimes, leading to 1) political inaction, 2) episodic protest, 3) cycles of protest, 4) insurgencies, or 4) terrorism. In the final section we assess the effect of dissident collective action on regime change, policy reform, or on securing the status quo. We cover a wide range of contemporary movements in different parts of the world, including civil rights, ethnic and nationalist, religious, feminist, anti-abortion, peasant, and workers movements in Latin America, Western and Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the U.S. We eclectically draw on historical, quantitative and game-theoretic work. The course is warmly open to seniors in the social sciences and to graduate students. No prerequisites.
Until recent decades, scholars viewed the Enlightenment as the Age of Reason. Work on social, cultural, intellectual, and gender history is now offering a much richer interpretation of eighteenth-century Europe, focusing on the meanings contemporaries attached to sociable practices, the arts, and moral sentiments. In this course we will draw on this newer material to study the original historical context of values that remain relevant today, such as human rights, religious toleration, popular sovereignty, and women’s equality. We will also dwell on Enlightenment-era assumptions that appear distant from our own, like the significance attached in the eighteenth century to public and private displays of emotion.
This course takes part in the growing public scrutiny of methods employed by states and their proxies to gather intelligence –methods, from surveillance to torture, that have often prioritized national security over human rights and even human life. We will explore: trauma, memory, and documentation in theaters of the Cold War and its afterlife through filmic, ethnographic, and psychological studies of terror and paranoia, statecraft and insurgency, with a critical focus on political secrecy and transparency. Screenings and analysis of narrative and documentary films; selected readings of ethnographic and literary texts.
This course examines various problems of international ethics, discussing them first in the context of general ethical theory and then revisiting them in the specific context of various controversies concerning the conduct of clinical trials in developing countries. Problems include moral universalism and relativism; poverty relief and international aid; international health disparities; human rights; and exploitation.
The contemporary internationalization of cultures on a primary U.S. model poses a challenge to alternative forms of storytelling all over the world and particularly in less industrialized countries. We will be examining the interaction between the global market place and the ways in which different artists and communities reject, interact, and adapt to the situation and how this affects their messages, accentuating how these dilemmas affect human rights and some of the most pressing ethical issues raised by globalization. Among the worlds we will be looking at are: ET, the Extraterrestrial, Pedro Páramo, Before the Rain, Schindler’s List, Pig Earth (by John Berger),The Color Purple, Field of Dreams, Back to the Future, Urga, The English Patient and my own Death and the Maiden, with an emphasis on problems facing writers and film makers as they try to represent terror and atrocities.
Students will begin with the basic texts that human rights activists use to ground and coordinate their efforts to promote human rights. Through the work of activists, we will examine human rights theory and legal grounding, the development of human rights as a practice, the history of human rights and the future of human rights as a political, cultural and social force.
The focus of the class is how proponents of human rights used the tools available to them to advance a cause, successfully and unsuccessfully. In the course of pursuing respect for human rights, activists have also expanded, debated and sometimes fought over what we understand as “human rights.” Continuing the focus on how activists made practical use of the law, politics, the media, events and public opinion, we will look at examples from a variety of periods, disciplines and cultures.
The course is designed to impart some of the skills activists use to further their cause. We will have four workshop sessions dedicated to the development of these skills: private interviews, politics, public speaking and punditry. The session on interviews – a technique to collect information from sources in the field – focuses on how to conduct a useful interview and will engage students in mock interview sessions. In the workshop on politics, we will do a crash course in how the US Government, European Union and United Nations operate, develop policy and respond to outside pressure, as a way of learning how to best strategize to win change. In public speaking, students will learn techniques used by experienced public speakers, a critical tool for any activist or scholar engaged in political work. Finally, in punditry, students will learn the key to preparing effective, publishable written work that can reach a general audience and further specific human rights-related goals.
This seminar focuses on indigenous peoples, their basic rights, and their roles in national and international development processes. Through class discussions, case studies and role-playing, students will examine the impact of national policies, local issues and global trends on indigenous populations and vice versa, and the dynamics of conflict generation and resolution. Among the issues to be discussed are policies relating to the issues of governance, land, natural resource and other property rights, social services such as health and nutrition and education, development projects, indigenous social movements, the environment, international networks, information technology, access and opportunities.
This seminar is designed for graduate students from diverse fields such as public policy, environmental science, law, religion, education and business, who are concerned with international development issues and processes.
British historian E.H. Carr famously defined history as “an unending dialogue between the present at the past.” Indeed, when Latin American leaders and activists set out to convey a message to a larger public, they deploy the language of history. The current Zapatista movement in Chiapas conjures the specter of a fallen revolutionary leader. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez invokes the independence leader Simón Bolívar to guide his Bolivarian revolution. In this course, we will explore Latin American history since the independence rebellions, giving particular attention to the ways that contemporary debates over democracy, sovereignty, economics, human rights, social justice, and cultural transformations draw upon both real and imagined histories. Drawing on memoirs, films, and novels as well as more conventional historical accounts, we will consider the ways in which the region’s past resonates in the dramatic changes occurring today.
Analysis of the human cost of historical and current global conflict. Examination and production of videos that break down conflict to its most personal level, with particular attention to the way in which conflict manifests and is dealt with across cultures, the ethics of recreating personal stories through video, and portrayal of stories that are accessible and valuable even to those with no immediate stake in the situation.