The course considers some of the most pressing global issues of our time through an overview of the history, theory, and practice of international human rights law, as well as the related fields of international humanitarian and criminal law. It identifies decades-long tensions about the legitimacy and meaning of human rights, with a focus on how those tensions are manifested in the case law of adjudicatory and quasi-adjudicatory legal institutions created by international and regional treaties, as well as by domestic courts. Much of the course is organized around in-depth and comparative study of the adjudication of human rights claims about matters including racial, gender, and sexual equality; rights to property, housing, and health; rights of indigenous peoples; religion and culture; and humanitarian law. As a part of the course, students will work in teams to select, edit, analyze, and present a legal opinion on human rights to the rest of the class.
Non-law graduate students who are planning to graduate in May will not be able to get a final grade submitted in time for graduation. Thus, enrollment in this course would require a delay of graduation to August or December. Alternatively, students in the LBJ School of Public Affairs may take this course on a pass/fail basis if they still wish to graduate in May.