Course Catalog for HUMAN RIGHTS STUDIES
HRST 125
Introduction to Human Rights
This course introduces students to the key concepts and debates in the study of Human Rights. For example, what are human rights standards and how have they evolved historically? Why do human rights violations occur and why is change sometimes possible? Is a human rights framework always desirable? In tackling such questions, the course surveys competing theories, including critical perspectives, applying these to a broad range of issues and concrete cases from around the world. (SOC)
CD:Not open to Seniors
1.00 units, Lecture
HRST 201
Global Understanding: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Identity and Political Change
In the period since 1945, struggles over colonialism, nationalism, and global inequality have reshaped the world order. This interdisciplinary course will examine how cultural groups and social movements defended, created, and reframed identities in this tumultuous political context. Examining specific case studies from across the globe, we will consider several forms and techniques of identity-formation, including literature, dance, photography, visual art, and political essays. Readings will include works by Angela Davis, Susan Meiseles, Chandra Mohanty, Joann Kealiinomoku, Bob Dylan, and Wislawa Szymborska. (GLB)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 202
James Baldwin and his World
During his lifetime, James Baldwin emerged as a prominent voice addressing issues of racial and sexual identity during the Civil Rights Movement and its aftermath. This course will explore these questions of identity by examining Baldwin's writing across a range of genres, including essays, drama, and fiction in order to discover why he became an American icon even as he spent a large portion of his adult life as an expatriate in France. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 203
Border Intimacies and Human Rights
Part of the evolution in border studies is recognizing borders as institutions governing the lives of individuals and groups, and as such conjure ideas of separation from self to the other. Considering Human Rights to be a modern theoretical ideal, the topic of power and sovereignty is further assessed in relation to border policies. How does the border affect the intimate connections of home, kinship, familial and ancestral ties, culture, gender, sexuality, language, race, class, and labor? How does globalization and neoliberalism affect migrants who must form intimacies in a new space? This course explores different "border intimacies" forged by people engaging with violence, institutional structures, and cultural practices as they cross borders. Readings include border studies, human rights, social sciences, ecocriticism, and the humanities. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 239
Post-Colonialism in Fiction
How does our understanding of colonial and post-colonial reality change when we examine it through the lens of contemporary fiction? How does such fiction represent the forces shaping African and African-American experience in the face of imperialism, colonialism and its aftermaths, and patriarchy? What roles, historically, culturally, and economically, have men and women played or been allowed to play, either in their home countries or in the countries in which they eventually find themselves, either by force or by choice? This course will approach these questions through a close study of Yaa Gyasi's novel Homegoing and the historical/social contexts it represents. (GLB)
0.50 units, Seminar
HRST 240
Post-Colonial Women's Writing
How do our studies of colonial and post-colonial realities change when we examine them through the works of contemporary women novelists? How do these novelists represent the intersection of the many forces that shape African women's experience in the face of imperialism, colonialism and its aftermaths, and patriarchy? What roles, historically, culturally, and economically, have women played or been allowed to play, either in their home countries or in the countries in which they eventually find themselves, either by force or by choice? This course will approach these questions through studying the fiction of such post-colonial novelists as Yaa Gyasi and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in order to consider the voices and representations of these contemporary women writers. (GLB)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 241
Human Rights Advocacy
In the space of seventy-five years, the human rights movement has transformed a utopian ideal into a central element of global discourse, if not practice. This seminar critically evaluates the global (and local) human rights movement(s). Among issues considered are: What does it mean to be a human rights activist? Have advocates adequately incorporated non-western understandings of human rights? What is the role of documentation, of legal advocacy, and of social media in human rights advocacy? How do human rights advocates work with narratives and evidence to maximize impact? What have been, and are today, the most and least effective means used by advocates? What are the main challenges and dilemmas facing those engaged in rights promotion and defense? (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
HRST 242
Human Rights Studies in Performance
Students will create cross-disciplinary art pieces (narrative, choreography, songs, and visual art) that address bridging divisions in culture and personhood based on a theme relevant to human rights. This year's theme, 'Lost & Found: Rebuilding Bridges,' is a response to the challenges of the pandemic, both personally and societally. Small group cohorts will create performance pieces that will be conjoined in a culminating live or video performance. Students will be given considerable creative agency in this process of cross-disciplinary experimentation, facilitated by a team of teaching artists. They will keep journals that include their creative ideas, reflections on assigned readings, and the art works created. The course's culminating performance will be videotaped and shared with limited audiences according to Department of Correction protocols and restrictions. (ART)
1.00 units, Studio
HRST 243
Reading James Baldwin
During his lifetime, James Baldwin (1924-87) emerged as a prominent voice addressing issues of racial and sexual identity during the Civil Rights Movement and its aftermath. This course will explore these questions of identity by examining Baldwin’s writing across a range of genres, including essays, drama, and fiction in order to discover why he became an American icon even as he spent a large portion of his adult life as an expatriate in France. (HUM)
0.50 units, Seminar
HRST 256
Cities, Citizenship, and Civilization
The city and concepts of citizenship and civilization have always been intimately linked. In the rural world, individual identities were generally subordinated to group or family imperatives. Only with the emergence of cities, with their promise of anonymity and their relatively free mixing of people of different origins, did the idea of the individual and of citizenship begin to emerge. Out of this same mix, the ideas of civilization and its conceptual cousin cosmopolitanism came into being. In this class, we will analyze the city as a locus of citizenship and civilization. We will also explore the ways in which certain established social powers have often sought to curb and/or undermine the promises of freedom and individual dignity implicit in the idea of the city. (GLB)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 260
From the Civil Rights Movement to the Movement for Black Lives
Have we entered a new civil rights era? What are this new movement's goals? Who are these new activists and what political beliefs motivate them? How did we get here? This seminar tries to answer these questions by looking backward. Both the strategies and the political analyses of the Movement for Black Lives are rooted in the successes - and failures - of the civil rights movements of the past. We will study the twentieth century's "Long Civil Rights Movement" and consider both continuities and breaks between past and present struggles for racial justice. This course is not open to those who took a similar course at the 300 level. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
HRST 267
Unearthing Local Histories
We live in interesting times. This course invites you to explore an interesting moment either in the past or present in your home town (or wherever you are currently), and create a document that explores it from a local perspective. Using interviews, local newspapers and other available materials, you'll be constructing the story, rather than simply reporting it. The course will move you through each stage of the process, with the end product intended (if possible) to be a public, online document others can learn from. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 301
Latina/Latin American Feminist Thought
While the study of contemporary feminist theory in the U.S. often includes a limited purview of the feminist thought of women of color, Latina feminist thought is still considered something of an anomaly. This seminar aims to expand students’ understanding of feminist theory through the rich and diverse lenses of Latina/Latin American Feminist philosophies, histories, and political thought. Utilizing an interdisciplinary approach, students will explore a variety of writings, both historical and contemporary, by Latina and Latin American feminists, engaging a wide range of topics including U.S colonialism, cultural and linguistic borderlands that traverse and disrupt North/South distinctions, as well as how gendered, sexual, and racial marginalization find connections across the Americas. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 312
The Question of Justice and Visual Arts Accounting for Truths at Times of Trauma
With a study of works from artists and critical readings, this course examines the role of artistic production as a tool to help societies that face extreme conflict and bloodshed in Latin America. How does a society grapple with violence? What does art offer in considering human rights discourse such as a common truth during and after conflict? What is the role of art in the process of "transitional justice?" While this course will pay particular attention to the truth and reconciliation commissions in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, and Peru, it will also examine other areas of Latin America that have experienced extreme violence, real and symbolic. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 314
Global Radicalism
In the early twentieth century, struggles against racism, capitalism, and colonialism, encircled the globe. From Irish republicanism in Dublin, Bolshevism in Moscow, revolution in Mexico City, to anti-lynching crusades in Birmingham, these movements represented the largest waves of rebellion sustained by the global economy. This seminar offers an overview of these struggles and spaces. Through examination of primary and secondary sources, students will consider radical social movements from distinct yet overlapping traditions. We will discuss how radicals confronted issues of racism, gender, and nationalism in their revolutionary theories. Taking a uniquely spatial approach, we will observe how geographies of accumulation emerged alongside sites of global resistance. Throughout we will consider these debates' contemporary relevance, observing how global radicalism might be charted in our present world. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 315
Abolition: A Global History
Over the past decade, a new word has emerged in the lexicon of struggle: abolition. Alongside calls to "Abolish prisons," "Abolish ICE," and "Abolish borders," organizers have challenged the horizons of political possibility. This class considers contemporary debates while situating them in a long global history. We will study how definitions of freedom, the state, and human rights have been shaped by struggles to abolish slavery in tandem with Indigenous struggles against settler colonialism. We will learn how abolition has long been defined not simply as the negation of untenable violence but as an affirmation of alternative ways of being. By engaging American Studies and Human Rights scholarship on incarceration, disability, racism, gender and sexuality, we will deepen our understanding of this language of struggle. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
HRST 316
Ecofeminism, Intersectional Environmentalism, and Human Rights
By examining the contributions of both ecofeminism and intersectional environmentalism this course highlights how the same ideologies and historical injustices against women, queer folk, and the environment are connected to Human Rights violations. This course is designed to provide theoretical, historical, and scientific paradigms to analyze and understand the ways in which women and queer folk are treated as inferior under Western heteronormative standards, as well as how the natural environment has been deemed inferior and separate from humans/men and culture (via capitalist ideals of progress/modernity). Using a feminist, queer, environmental justice lens, this course will further explore the connections between sexism, racism, gender and sexuality discrimination, class exploitation, and environmental destruction. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 323
Grounded Ways of Knowing: Spatial Politics & Activist Research
Renowned popular educator Paulo Freire once warned of teaching with false impartiality, treating societies under study as if one was not also a "participant in it." He sought to challenge the divides separating spaces of learning from the process of learning itself. In this seminar, we will consider the questions Freire sought to ask and answer. By engaging texts in American Studies and Human Rights we will interrogate the spatial, epistemological, and social divides between the places in which we learn and the spaces we inhabit to do so. Through readings and discussion, we will consider how we might observe, engage, and challenge those divides. Students will produce a final project that interrogates these divisions as well as the many ways they might be transgressed. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
HRST 332
Understanding Civil Conflict and Its Causes and Consequences
This course surveys the many causes and consequences of civil conflict and civil war. Major themes of the course include ethnic fractionalization, natural resources, climate change, colonial legacies, institutional design, globalization, intervention, international efforts in state building, gendered violence, and human rights. The course also examines the different theoretical and methodological approaches to studying civil conflict. (SOC)
All seats are reserved for juniors and sophomores.
1.00 units, Lecture
HRST 348
New Beginnings: Justice Alternatives and the Arts
In this seminar, we will investigate the application of the arts to populations with a focus on, but not limited to, urban youth at risk; those incarcerated; families affected by incarceration; and victims of crime. We will look at the role the arts and restorative justice play in a healing and rehabilitative process with these populations, analyzing the mission, goals, action steps, and results through research and hands-on experience. In conjunction with two Hartford-based nonprofit organizations, students will do a significant fieldwork project, entitled New Beginnings, that will include research, participation, and analysis. (ART)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 349
Global Migration/Refugee Resettlement Lab
Provides an experiential-based introduction to the practical challenges of refugee and immigrant resettlement and integration and to the development of effective policies and implementation strategies to address them. Students will be placed with a community-based organization working with immigrants and refugees 10-12 hours a week and attend (weekly or biweekly) seminar class meetings to integrate their onsite learning experience and responsibilities with discussions of assigned readings and relevant concepts in participatory action research and diaspora studies. Seminar meetings will be organized around enrolled students' existing class schedules. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 350
Race and Incarceration
#BlackLivesMatter has brought the intersection of race and the criminal justice system into public conversation, but race has been intertwined with imprisonment since American colonization. This course begins with the ways slavery and African Americans were policed by the state, and the history of American prisons. After the Civil War, freed Black men and women sought equal rights and opportunities. In response, the justice system shifted to accommodate new forms of racial suppression. The course then considers this process, including civil rights activists' experiences with prisons, the War on Drugs' racial agenda, and Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, which argued that the "prison-industrial complex" is the newest form of racial control. The course ends with current practices of, and challenges to, the criminal justice system. This course meets the Archival method requirement. (HUM)
This course is not open to first-year or sophomore students without instructor consent.
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 351
Human Rights Literature in Latin America
Throughout its history Latin America has seen many human rights violations: from the colonial period, to the very present with the migration crises, and the political and economic instability of many countries. Nonetheless, through many of the region's efforts, its human rights procedures have established significant precedents around the world. This course explores how literature has become a tool for human rights advocacy in Latin America, as both to show the speaker's humanity and to reflect on a "narrative" that at times counter the "official stories" presented by nation states, and opposes the assumed Western overemphasis on history as a source of legitimacy. Students will recognize the many human rights violations in the region, analyze and reflect on its literary production. Course taught in Spanish. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 369
International Human Rights Law
This course offers a comprehensive survey of the evolution of international human rights law, focusing on the major actors and processes at work. Which rights do individual human beings have vis-a-vis the modern state? What is the relationship between domestic and international legal processes? Are regional human rights mechanisms like the European system more influential than international ones? More generally, how effective is contemporary international human rights in securing accountability and justice? We use specific cases and contemporary debates to study a range of treaties and emerging institutions, including ad hoc war crimes tribunals and the International Criminal Court. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
HRST 373
Human Rights Through Performance: The Incarcerated
In this course we will examine selected human rights issues through a multi-disciplinary approach that includes readings, discussion, journal writing, site visits and art-making. This semester's study will look at life behind the razor wire-what are the human rights issues that emerge in the world of the incarcerated? Topics included in our investigation will be mass incarceration, sentencing, collateral damage, rehabilitation vs. punishment, gender-specific issues and the impact of the arts on prisoners and the institution of prison. (ART)
1.00 units, Lecture
HRST 399
Independent Study
No Course Description Available.
0.50 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
HRST 399
Human Rights Studies
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Independent Study
HRST 409
Senior Seminar: Race, Gender, and Global Security
Recent events have focused attention on questions of race, gender, social justice, and the militarization of police. This course will consider how notions of race and security that evolved in the late 20th and early 21st century U.S., have shaped political discourse, and how in turn, those ideas have circulated around the world. Through analyses of American Studies texts, documentaries, and popular culture, we will consider both emerging and prevailing definitions of security. By examining case studies in major global cities, including Los Angeles, we will explore how space has been organized around the logics of racialized threats and gendered notions of safety. For a cumulative paper, students will select a global city and offer history, context, and analysis of the production of insecure spaces. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 466
Human Rights Teaching Assistant
Submission of the special registration form, available online, and the approval of the instructor are required for enrollment. Guidelines are available in the College Bulletin. (1.0 course credit) (SOC)
1.00 units, Independent Study
HRST 490
Research Assistantship
This course is designed to provide students with the opportunity to undertake substantial research work with a faculty member. Students need to complete a special registration form, available online, and have it signed by the supervising instructor.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
HRST 495
Senior Research Colloquium in Human Rights for Senior Project and Thesis Writers
This course serves as the official capstone for the Human Rights Major. The course covers a variety of qualitative and quantitative research methods as they relate to core subject areas in human rights. The course also covers different approaches to research question development and research design. Students either complete their 1 semester senior projects by the end of the course or progress through the literature review and methods sections of their 2 semester senior thesis (to be completed as an independent study in the Spring of the same year). (SOC)
Senior HRST majors and HRST125
1.00 units, Seminar
HRST 497
Senior Project
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment in this single term project. (WEB)
1.00 units, Independent Study
HRST 498
Senior Thesis Part 1
This course is the first part of a two semester, two credit thesis. Submission of the special registration form and the approval of the thesis adviser and the director are required for enrollment. The registration form is required for each semester of this year-long thesis. (WEB)
1.00 units, Independent Study
HRST 499
Senior Thesis Part 2
This course is the second part of a two semester, two credit thesis. Submission of the special registration form and the approval of the thesis adviser and the director are required for enrollment. The registration form is required for each semester of this year-long thesis. (WEB)
1.00 units, Independent Study