SMNR: Feminisms/Social Movements/Human Rights

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
WED 3:30 - 5:20 pm CCJ 3.336

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


This seminar will consider the development of the women's human rights movement from the 1970s to today, and the ways in which it has interacted with, reacted to and participated in the creation of international law and institutions. As with all social movements, women's human rights advocates have faced internal disagreements and organizational challenges throughout the years. Yet, they have affected the shape of international law by successfully working toward the mainstreaming of women's human rights in international law and institutions, particularly those focused on human rights and international criminal law. This seminar will focus on those successes, as well as on the unintended consequences of some of those achievements. Much of the seminar will examine the extent to which different feminist and critical (including postcolonial and queer) theories have affected the development and critique of international human rights and humanitarian law. It will then focus on a number of case studies that have engendered or sometimes suppressed debates among feminists, including attempts to create a new "gender architecture" within the UN, the criminalization of rape as genocide and as a crime against humanity, the use of the right to health to approach a wide range of issues from sexual orientation to HIV/AIDS, and the criminalization of trafficking and sex work. Students will write short reaction papers to readings during the semester and a final research paper.