Fall 2023 Graduate Level Courses in Human Rights Practice

Aug. 16, 2023

Fall I 2023 (Aug 21 – Oct 11)

HRTS 500: Advancing Human Rights (3 units, required for MA et al) William Simmons, Ph.D.
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. We will 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 521: Community-Based Participatory Action Research for Gender-Based Violence (3 units) Amalia Mora, Ph.D.
This course focuses on how to implement community-based action research projects relevant to protecting and advancing the rights to be free from violence and preventing violence against women and LGBTQ+ communities. We will consider how to integrate intersectional frameworks into methodological practice so that the research and work itself does not cause further harm, trauma, and community disenfranchisement. Community ownership and/or access to data as an empowerment tool will be examined. Students will learn how community members participate in developing research questions, choosing and implementing data collection methods, interpreting findings, and sharing/presenting of results. Case studies of community research that resulted in empowerment and enfranchisement will be presented. Students will work hand-in-hand with faculty and community members in designing and running two community-based action research projects.

HRTS 543: Advancing Human Rights through Technology (3 units) Instructor TBA
This course provides a broad overview of the range of technology applications used in human rights reporting, documentation, data sharing, and secure communications. Students will gain an overview of emerging technologies and applications for human rights advocacy, such as using satellite imagery, analyzing big data, working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and using text messaging and participatory video to build grassroots support communities.

FTV 544: Documentary Production (3 units, req for HRTS/Doc Media Certificate, for others, elective) Lisa Molomot, MFA
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 2 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 postproduction 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 495A/595A: Human Rights Across Contexts – Cultural Heritage Protection (3 units, elective) Leonard Hammer, Ph.D., LL.M. 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 (Oct 12-Dec 6)

HRTS 510: Advancing International Human Rights Law (3 units, required for MA) Leonard Hammer, Ph.D., LL.M.
This course will provide students with an understanding of human rights law and the means for human rights enforcement as found in international, regional, and national processes. Featuring human rights practitioners 3 as guest speakers, the student will acquire the necessary tools for understanding legal processes and some of the issues and pratfalls that they present for human rights actors.

HRTS 531: Femicides/Feminicides (3 units, required for GBV Certificate, elective for others) 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.

HRTS 541 – Advancing Human Rights Through Documentary Media (3 units, required for Doc Media Certificate, elective for others) Beverly Seckinger, MFA
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 595A - Human Rights Across Contexts: The Human Rights of LGBT+ Persons (3 units) Raymond Smith, Ph.D., LLM
Over the past decade, LGBT+ issues have moved from the periphery of global affairs to a major topic in international human rights. This course will provide a detailed examination of how these issues have evolved and how they have been addressed at the UN and in other international forums, as well to a lesser extent at the national and regional levels. The course will also emphasize strategies, tools, and forums employed by human rights practitioners. Readings, assignments, online asynchronous forums, and synchronous sessions will be combined to solicit input from course participants and to promote dialogue and discussion. This online course will span seven weeks with seven asynchronous (largely self-paced) online sessions and additional synchronous online sessions for guest speakers and discussion.

HRTS 596A: Human Rights Crises and Trauma (3 units, elective) Mette Brogden, Ph.D.
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.

HRTS 496B/596B: Cutting-Edge Advances in Human Rights: Documenting Human Rights Abuses Through Forensic Anthropology (3 units, elective) Robin Reineke, Ph.D.
Documenting Human Rights Abuses Through Forensic Anthropology will provide students with an understanding of what the field of forensic anthropology is and how it can be applied in human rights investigations. The expertise of forensic anthropologists can be an invaluable asset in certain contexts, especially when combined with survivor testimony and strategic litigation. The history, current applications, and challenges of forensic anthropology in a human rights context will be discussed, with a special focus on a family-centered approach. Guest speakers will include practicing forensic anthropologists with experience in human rights contexts from around the world, with an emphasis on those with experience in Latin America and the U.S.-Mexico border.