Fall 2022 Graduate Level Courses in Human Rights Practice

June 3, 2022

Fall 2022 Graduate Level Courses in Human Rights Practice


Fall I 2022 (Aug 22 – Oct 12)

HRTS 500: Advancing Human Rights
Instructor: William Simmons

This course provides an overview of human rights practice and activism. We will examine grassroots social movements and participatory approaches to human rights activism focusing on the potential ways and means for moving human rights initiatives forward. The focus is on practical methods for assessing, analyzing, and engaging human rights issues. In Fall 2022 we will likely cover such issues as colonialism and de-colonialism, anti-racism movements, recent innovative attempts to find justice for Rohingya refugees, sex worker rights, and trauma and self-care.

HRTS 502: Advancing Human Rights Organizations II
Instructor: Mette Brogden

Advancing Human Rights Organizations II addresses the practical aspects of non-governmental organization (NGO) management and operations. Students will apply a variety of envisioning, planning, fund development, and evaluation tools commonly used by NGOs to guide, support, and govern their work. The course will also feature guest speakers talking about their work in national or international NGOs in a variety of human rights domains, such as conflict intervention, migration and crisis management, environmental protection, indigenous rights, war recovery and health, and rights watch/anti-impunity. Students will write a grant, develop a project, or a five-year strategic plan for an NGO they would like to start or for an NGO they know about and might like to assist.

HRTS 531: Femicides/Feminicides
Instructor: Alethia Fernández de la Reguera Ahedo

In this course, students examine one of the most widespread and yet understudied forms of gender-based violence, femicide/feminicide, or the targeted killing of women and girls because they are female, often enabled through state complicity. Students will learn about scholarship, activism, and legal policies related to femicide/feminicide. Root causes and psychologies of femicide/feminicide are explored as well as compounding forms of violence that often lead to the death of women and girls, especially intimate partner violence, but also forced sterilization, forced motherhood, and sexual violence. The class will offer an international perspective on the struggle of women’s organizations and feminist to generate social and cultural awareness and transformations about this problem and to demand legal and public policy actions from States to eradicate these kinds of crimes.

FTV 544: Documentary Production
Instructor: Lisa Molomot

An introduction to documentary filmmaking for students with diverse academic backgrounds and research interests. The course is designed to serve students with no prior production training, as well as those with experience. Students will acquire and further strengthen camera, sound and editing skills, and learn to conceptualize, develop, shoot and edit short documentary projects geared toward their research interests. The course is structured primarily as a workshop to support the development, production and post-production of your projects. A significant amount of time will be devoted to individual meetings to develop and workshop your work in progress. We will also have video lectures, class discussions, weekly readings, production exercises and assignments to strengthen your knowledge of documentary filmmaking.

HRTS 595A: Human Rights Across Contexts – Cultural Heritage Protection
Instructor: Leonard Hammer

This course will examine the meaning and scope of cultural heritage protection, what that means in practice and what is the implication of such protection for people from around the world, including indigenous and minority groups. We also shall critically examine existing international avenues of cultural heritage protection and account for cultural heritage protection in conflict zones (including as a potential avenue for conciliation between opposing groups). Student work shall center on considering the ways and means human rights practitioners apply cultural heritage protection in different contexts.


Fall II 2022 (Oct 13-Dec 8)


HRTS 501: Advancing Human Rights Organizations
Instructor: Mette Brogden

The course focuses on the practical aspects of advancing human rights through civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with a special emphasis on some of the dramatic transformations they have undergone in the past couple of decades. The course will cover such critical issues as: management of resources, relationships with personnel and boards of directors, marketing human rights issues, fundraising and financial management, accountability, navigating governmental corruption, program evaluation, and delivering outputs such as shadow reports and white papers.

HRTS 530 – Understanding Gender Violence
Instructor: Amalia Mora

This course introduces students to the nature and scope of gender-based violence, in the US and globally, providing students with an overview on demographics, legal policies and advocacy efforts, and strategies for prevention and response. Through an intersectional framework, students will learn about the psychology and root causes of gender-based violence and will be introduced to trauma- and healing- informed prevention and response approaches and techniques. Examples from a range of cultural/geographical contexts will highlight the need for culturally sensitive and specific work.

HRTS 541 – Advancing Human Rights Through Documentary Media
Instructor: Beverly Seckinger

This course surveys current models for making and using documentary media in the service of human rights practice and activism. Interrogating concepts such as witness, testimony and evidence, historical memory, trans-media storytelling and convergence, strategic partnerships and impact campaigns, and emergent participatory frameworks, the course explores a variety of approaches to media production, exhibition, distribution and advocacy. Each course module includes interactions with filmmakers and/or media activists in the field via video conferencing; exploring media products such as films, websites and online tutorials; and critical and practical readings. Students will develop term projects in consultation with the instructor.

HRTS 596A: Human Rights Crises and Trauma
Instructor: Mette Brogden

This course will explore trauma sequelae of human rights violations and also secondary trauma sequelae, including for human rights practitioners and students in our program. We will look at traumatic events, what causes trauma impacts in those who experience the events, lingering impacts of traumatic events and the harms that violence and war, social and economic exclusion can bring to people and societies. We will interrogate the literature on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as a relatively new literature on post-traumatic growth. Finally, we will explore how people manage traumatic stress symptoms and PTSD related to human rights violations—either acute violations associated with torture and war/refugee flight sequelae, or long-term violations associated with marginalization, exclusion, racism and other forms of identity discrimination, and structural violence. We will then turn to ways to manage secondary trauma, including mindfulness, meaning, beauty, nature immersion, and support groups. Students will submit weekly reflection pieces as well as contribute to discussions.