CULANTH 104: Introduction to Human Rights:


This course introduces students to the field of human rights. The course has two primary purposes: to define and explore the key terms, concepts, foundations and theories of human rights; and examine alternative or competing definitions of rights using a case-based approach. This approach will include critiques of human rights, including from conservatives, nationalist and non-western thinkers. This design insures that students will see the connections between key rights ideas, like individual vs. collective rights, Western origins of rights concepts, humanitarian challenges, rights in the arts and visual culture and rights practice.

CULANTH 290S: Imagining Human Rights


For generations, writers have extrapolated from contemporary culture, science, and current events to ask what-ifs. What if, as in the case of Ursula Leguin’s “The Ones who walk away from Omelas,” one child is designated to suffer to keep an entire community safe? What if, as in the case of M.R. Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts, the apocalypse is simply a beginning for a new kind of human with equal rights? This class examines the historical roots of human rights through the lens of speculative fiction. A central question is how the imaginary influenced or presages the real, allowing us to experiment with what-ifs and different notions of what constitute a human and how they can ne endowed with inalienable rights. We’ll be reading a number of influential women and writers of color and asking how their work bring in new dimensions of rights questions on marginalized communities. Students will work with the Rubinstein Archive’s newly acquired Local Archives, a rich source of primary documents on 20th-century science and science fiction. 

RELIGION 219S: Muslim Women Across the Ages


This course explores the diverse realities of Muslim women’s lives, from the origins of Islam to the present, through autobiographical and biographical accounts situated in their social, economic, political, and cultural contexts. The women we will encounter through textual and audiovisual materials represent a wide range of personal backgrounds, including scholars, mystics, merchants, philanthropists, poets, slavegirls, feminists, and Islamists. We will metaphorically travel across the globe and time to understand the multifarious facets of Muslim women’s lived experiences.


ICS 283S: Death, Burial and Justice

INSTRUCTOR: Adam Rosenblatt

This interdisciplinary course explores the phenomenon of necroviolence: attacks on the dignity, integrity, and memory of the dead. Cases come from the United States, Latin America, and Canada. Topics include the rights of the dead, cultural attitudes towards the dead, and the “ambiguous loss” experienced by loved ones of the disappeared. We also explore the activism of family members, volunteer cemetery reclamation groups, and forensic scientists who exhume mass graves to identify bodies. Students will interact with guest speakers, spend time in a local African American cemetery with ties to Duke, and do community work and research on behalf of the marginalized dead.


GSF 386S: Politics of Sexuality

INSTRUCTOR: Gabriel Rosenberg

Explores intersections among sexual identity, desire, and behavior and political institutions, public policy, and concepts of citizenship. Readings and methods will be interdisciplinary and will examine politics of sexuality in diverse sociocultural, international, and historical contexts. Topics may include: social movements; laws, policing, and incarceration; medicalization and eugenics; militarism and geopolitics; immigration and human rights; welfare policies; nationalism and citizenship; and reproductive rights.


HISTORY 344: US Social Movements


Examines the social movements that have shaped U.S. history, starting with the American Revolution itself and covering others including the anti-slavery movement, women’s rights, Populism, Socialism, the Ku Klux Klan, the labor movement, the Black Freedom Movement and broader New Left, lesbian and gay liberation, and the recent conservative movement, focusing on the ethical issues arguments they raised, and how new civil, political, and social rights were created through social movement organizing. Lectures and readings explore why these movements arose, what they achieved, why many opposed them, and what we can learn about American history writ large from their experiences.


HISTORY 272: Genocide and Human Rights

INSTRUCTOR: Bill Sharman

Analyzes the phenomenon of genocide from an interdisciplinary perspective, exploring the ways that violence intersected with gender, race, and religion. Combines the history of genocide with the history of humanitarianism, international law, and human rights, seeking to understand their successes and failures. Case studies cover the twentieth century up to the present and may include mass violence in Armenia, the Congo, the Holocaust, Nigeria/Biafra, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sudan. An interdisciplinary approach will be used, seeking to investigate genocide and human rights from the heights of international law to the depths of the human heart, using tools of political science, literature, and history.