LAWS3017/JURD7417 The Politics of Human Rights: Theory and Critique

Lecturer: Ben Golder

What is the course about?
This course is all about the political limits and possibilities of human rights today. Human rights are often proposed as the most important and powerful form of political discourse in the contemporary world for bringing about global social justice or for ending violence and discrimination but what are the problems and limits of human rights as a type of law and as a type of political strategy? In short, the course tries to get students to critically examine human rights, and their own beliefs in human rights, through a series of theoretical readings and case studies.

Why does this subject interest you?
The subject interests me as a teacher as it is what I am working on at the moment and I always enjoy the feedback between my own research and what happens in the classroom. As to why the course appeals to students, I suppose that is more difficult to define. Over the years, the most common response to that question has been that it forces them to think critically about human rights and, in the process, they are changed.

Do you have any advice to students who are interested in taking this course?
Come prepared to change your mind about human rights, law, politics and the world.