Aufbauseminar (Modul WSF-polw-7 und 8): International Politics and Human Rights


This seminar consists of a comprehensive overview of the politics and practice of human rights around the world from a political perspective. Not only will the students will be introduced to the main theoretical debates of human rights within political science and neighboring disciplines, but they will also discuss in detail some key issues in contemporary human rights in ways that simultaneously illuminate those issues and illustrate the approaches that social scientists in general and political scientists in particular use when conducting research on this issue area.
The seminar is divided in two sections, each focused on the above-mentioned objectives. The first two sessions showcase the state-of-the-art of the study of human rights within political science, i.e., the main approaches to the study of human rights as a political phenomenon and the consequent conclusions will be discussed. Moreover, the primary challenges and controversies involved in the study of human rights will be reviewed, too. From the third session onwards, important topics in contemporary politics and practice of human rights will be discussed through the use of varied and extensive case studies from around the world. This will provide fresh insights into important issues while simultaneously illustrating how scholars carry out research on human rights.
The seminar will be comprised of six weekly sessions with a duration of 4 hours each, between April and May, which makes up for the required amount of hours in a regular semester. Students will obtain 5 credit points if they fulfill the requirements (see above). Under extraordinary circumstances, 2.5 credits can also be obtained with a reduced amount of work-load, contact the lecturer regarding this possibility.
Students are expected to read the material in advance (available in OLAT), follow the news, visit the suggested on-line resources and become familiar with web of knowledge. This will be a sound base to engage in fruitful discussions.
The language of instruction will be English. A limited number of seats are available to engage in discussions regarding the reviewed case studies (during the second half of the seminar) with BA students of Human Rights sitting in Mexico through video conferences (Spanish/English).

Course Schedule

• April

April 11th
Theoretical Foundations of Human Rights
Human Rights in International Relations
Human Rights in Comparative Politics

April 18th
Sociological and Anthropological Approaches
(Mis)use of Human Rights
Political Democracy and State Repression

April 25th
Global Civil Society and Human Rights
Human Rights and Politics in Development
Economic Globalization and Human Rights

• May

May 02
Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation
Human Rights and Forced Migration
Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

To be announced: (09.04: Himmelfahrt)
Genocide and Human Rights
The Environment

May 16
Humanitarian Intervention
Transitional Justice

Contact: Westring 400, Room 04.24.