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Spring 2016 HRI Minor electives

H: Humanities elective 

S: Social Sciences elective

H/S: May count as either Humanities or Social Sciences elective


African American Studies 152F

Neo-Slave Narratives


This course explores African American fiction written during the 1970s and 1980s that attempt to re-present the ur-text of African American literature--and/or to represent for contemporary readers the lives of African slaves in the United States. In what ways do these authors imagine the experience and effects of slavery from their vantage point a century after emancipation, and with the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements shaping the context of their writing?

American Studies 139AC

Civil Rights and Social Movements in US History



Beginning with the onset of World War II, America experienced not a singular, unitary Civil Rights Movement -- as is typically portrayed in standard textbook accounts and the collective memory -- but rather a variety of contemporaneous civil rights and their related social movements. This course explores the history, presenting a top-down (political and legal history), bottom-up (social and cultural history), and comparative (by race and ethnicity as well as region) view of America's struggles for racial equality from roughly World War II until the present.


Anthropology 189A

The New Humanitarianism



By 'humanitarianism' we mean intervention into the problem of humanity at home and abroad. An early focus on human rights is expanding to include well-being and security as fundamental conditions of modern life. The course is divided into three sections: humanitarianism as a mode of governing; an economy of sentiments; and a biological claim. Part 1 explores theories about the problem of humanity as a mode of modern government, whereby humanitarianism centers on care for and threat to populations lacking conventional access to citizenship. Part 2 analyzes the sentiments of N-S humanitarian interventions, including recent practices such as social entrepreneurship, the financialization of global poverty, and volunteer tourism. Part 3 tracks the rise of biological claims on citizenship that expand beyond conventional notions of human rights to include biological well-being.  Humanitarianism seeks to complement political citizenship in advanced liberal democracies, and the challenges of humanitarian projects overseas are raised in this class.


Economics 133

Global Inequality and Growth



This course provides an introduction to the analysis of economic inequalities and the interplay between inequality and economic growth. It focuses on three sets of core questions: 1) How does inequality evolve over the path of development? 2) What are the theories that can explain the degree of economic inequalities and its dynamic? 3) How do policies affect inequalities, and what types of policies can foster equitable growth? The course addresses these issues from a global and historical perspective: it comprehensively deals with the United States today, but also with inequality in China, India, Latin America, and Europe, as far back as 1700.


Education 182AC

The Politics of Educational Inequality



This course explores the state of U.S. public education, particularly how success within that system varies by race, class, and gender. It explores educational attainment across different groups within the U.S. and then looks at how the structure of educational policymaking affects different types of students. It concludes by investigating the varied impact of different approaches to reform, with an eye toward identifying how best to reduce educational inequality in the United States.


English 161

Introduction to Literary Theory: Free Speech, in Theory



This course will interrogate the way in which “free” speech, as moral value or political right, informs and complicates our understanding of literature and the literary.  We will trace the conceptual intersection of freedom and speech both historically and across several disciplines, beginning with Plato and Aristotle, then proceeding to consider the effect of general literacy on the conception and regulation of free “speech,” reading Milton’s Areopagitica and Marx’s “On the Freedom of the Press.” Turning from "public" to "private" speech, we will also examine psychoanalytic and linguistic accounts of psychic and physiological disfluency.  Throughout, we will consider the “freedom” of speech in relation to questions of both form and content.  Are genre, meter, and grammar mere forms of constraint? Or are we free only when released by formal constraint from instrumental communication? Do political and psychic repression merely inhibit free speech, or is our idea(l) of free speech an effect of these repressions?  And what do physical constraints on speech, from aphasia to stuttering, have to tell us of the relation of literary form to speech freedom?  Does the global hegemony of English threaten a speech freedom that ought to be understood as dependent upon a polyglot diversity? Finally, to what extent is free speech a diminished form of freedom itself?  We will end by considering the current situation of free speech in the U.S., reading materials related to the  “Citizens United” decision, current discussions of "campus climate," and earlier Supreme Court cases related to free speech.

Students will have the opportunity to write three progressively longer essays (ranging from 3 to 10 pages) on different theoretical questions of free speech: on a specific philosophical, political, or aesthetic theory of speech freedom; on a legal or psychoanalytic “case”; on literary form.


English 165

Is it Useless to Revolt?: Literature of Revolt



“Is it useless to revolt?”  Our course borrows its title from an essay by Foucault on the Iranian Revolution of 1979.  Foucault urges us to suspend judgment and listen to the voices of revolt, even as they seem entangled in a history of inescapable, recurrent violence.  Attracted and repulsed by revolutionary violence, the authors in this course test Foucault’s proposition that, “While revolts take place in history, they also escape it in a certain manner.” The intersection of religion, art, and politics will loom large in our discussions.  Starting with Milton’s Samson Agonistes, we will consider how religious convictions inform both political aspiration and a willingness to justify acts of violence.  Such questions will lead us back to two foundational representations of revolt in the Bible (Exodus and Revelation), and they will lead us forward to contemporary questions about “terrorism.”  (After 9/11, a much publicized debate on Samson Agonistes asked whether its central character is best described as a terrorist.)  Other readings will range widely across historical periods and national cultures, including works by Blake, Kleist, Nat Turner, Shelley, Melville, and James in the nineteenth century, Yeats, Auden, and Darwish in the twentieth, and contemporary authors such as Kenzaburo Oe, Rachel Kushner, and (Berkeley’s own) Geoffrey O’Brien.  On occasion, we will take up theoretical writings on the subject of revolt, liberation, and violence by Kant, Benjamin, Arendt, Zizek, and—of course—Foucault.


English 180A

Autobiography: Disability Memoir

Kleege, G


This course will examine autobiography as a literary genre. We will survey the history of the genre and consider such questions as: How is reading autobiography like/unlike reading fiction? How do the truth claims made by autobiographies shape readers’ expectations? What are the forms and techniques autobiographers use to tell their stories?  The texts we are reading are all written by people with disabilities, so we will also discuss the impact that disability has on life-writing. Autobiographies written by people with disabilities offer readers a glimpse into lives at the margins of mainstream culture, and thus can make disability seem less alien and frightening. Disability rights activists, however, have criticized these texts because they tend to reinforce the notion that disability is a personal tragedy that must be overcome through superhuman effort, rather than a set of cultural conditions that could be changed to accommodate a wide range of individuals with similar impairments. Are these texts agents for social change or merely another form of freak show?


Ethnic Studies 144AC

Racism and the U.S. Law: Historical Treatment of Peoples of Color


Intensive histori-legal survey of racism in the United States, exploring the legal antecedents of the country's contemporary stratified society, and emphasizing the role of law as a social policy instrument. Readings and lectures will investigate the prevailing legal currency of racism in the United States through an examination of the country's formative legal documents and the consequent effects of a myriad of judicial decisions on peoples of color.


Ethnic Studies 173AC

Indigenous Peoples in Global Inequality


This course examines the history of indigenous, aboriginal, native, or "tribal" peoples over the last five centuries. Particular attention is paid to how these groups were brought into relations with an expanding Europe, capitalist development, and modern nation-states. How have these peoples survived, what are the contemporary challenges they face, and what resources and allies have they drawn on in the present?


History 103

Human Rights Practice in Comparative Perspective



How have advocates promoted human rights, and what have been the effects? In this seminar, we will examine the history of human rights practice at the national level -- comparing experiences in the United States and Argentina -- and as a transnational and global phenomenon. With a focus on the mid-twentieth century to the present, "Human Rights Practice in Comparative Perspective" will trace the development and results of modern human rights strategies used to address problems like racial inequality, impingements on freedom of expression, and state violence. We will pay particular attention to the methods scholars have used to assess the outcomes of human rights initiatives, from humanitarian intervention to human rights trials.



The History of Black People and Race Relations, 1550- 1861



This course is a survey of African-American history from its beginnings through emancipation. Classes and coursework will examine African origins of black Americans, the history of the middle passage, the development of plantation slavery, and the many historical changes that shaped African-American life and culture thereafter—from the American Revolution to the Civil War. Topics will include the impact of the Haitian and American Revolutions on African-American life; the abolition of slavery in the post-Revolutionary North, the development of a free black community there; the expansion of slavery in the South, antebellum enslaved people's culture, and their resistance to enslavement. Some readings will explore the African American body under slavery. Other topics that will be covered include the use of enslaved African Americans in early medical research and experimentation, enslaved women’s reproduction, the role of enslaved people in the healing and medical treatment of others within the community, and enslaved African Americans love and intimacy. The readings will be attentive to the ways that gender shaped the experiences of slavery and freedom for African Americans and we will also read about the experiences of enslaved children. You should leave the class with a broader understanding of the experiences of African Americans prior to 1865.


History C139C

From the Civil Rights Era to the New Gilded Age: Struggles for Racial Equality and Economic Equity from “Double Victory” to “Occupy”



World War II lifted the United States from the Great Depression, launching the nation on a course of economic expansion that would endure for a quarter century afterwards. This long economic boom, in turn, helped underwrite and propel efforts on behalf of greater racial equality and economic equity. By the late 1960s, however, as the long economic boom fizzled out, America’s march toward greater racial equality began to founder, while its march toward greater economic equity began to reverse course. The Civil Rights Era gave way to the New Gilded Age, a period marked by an increasing concentration of income and wealth in the hands of a decreasing percentage of the overall population. This course will explore the political, legal, and economic history of America’s struggles for racial equality and economic equity – and the relationship between them – from the World War II-inspired “Double Victory” campaign roots of the Civil Rights Era to the “Occupy Wall Street” protests of 2011 that finally brought national attention to the growing income and wealth polarization that defined the then decades-old New Gilded Age.


History 178

History of the Holocaust



This course will survey the historical events and intellectual developments leading up to and surrounding the destruction of European Jewry during World War II. By reading a mixture of primary and secondary sources we will examine the Shoah (the Hebrew word for the Holocaust) against the backdrop of modern Jewish and modern German history. The course is divided into three main parts: (1) the historical background up to 1933; (2) the persecution of the Jews and the beginnings of mass murder, 1933-1941; and (3) the industrialized murder of the Jews, 1942-1945.


History of Art 190F

Visual Activism



How has visual culture played a contested role within the social movements of the last several decades? How, we might ask, is activism made visible; how does it erupt (or disappear) with collective fields of vision? Drawing upon South African lesbian photographer Zanele Muholi’s term “visual activism” as a flexible rubric that encompasses both formal practices and political strategies, this lecture class interrogates contemporary visual cultures of dissent and protest as they span a range of ideological positions. We will examine recent developments in and around recent intersections of art and politics, looking closely at performances, photographs, art objects, and graphic interventions from around the world, with a special focus on tactics of illegibility and fugitivity. Topics might include visual responses to structural racisms, global climate change, state violence, and queer/trans issues.


Legal Studies 107

Theories of Justice



Major perspectives in social and economic thought, e.g., natural law, natural right, laissez faire, "possessive individualism," contractualism, pluralism, and social equality as they affect contemporary discussion of "higher law," fairness, civic competence, and distributive justice.


Legal Studies 154

International Human Rights



Course description TBA


Legal Studies 190

Theories of Justice in a Diverse Society



Course description TBA


Legal Studies 190

Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Law



Course description TBA


Media Studies 104A

Freedom of Speech and the Press



The course considers the history and contemporary meaning of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and the press. Emphasizing the real world implications of major Supreme Court decisions, the course examines restrictions on speech and press imposed by national security, libel, injurious speech, and privacy, as well as issues of access to information and government regulation of new media.


Peace and Conflict Studies 127

Human Rights and Global Politics



After World War II, we witnessed a "revolution" in human rights theory, practice, and institution building. The implications of viewing individuals as equal and endowed with certain rights is potentially far reaching as in the declaration that individuals hold many of those rights irrespective of the views of their government. Yet, we also live in a world of sovereign states with sovereign state's rights. We see everyday a clash between the rights of the individual and lack of duty to fulfill those rights when an individual's home state is unwilling or unable to do so. After introducing the idea of human rights, its historic development and various international human rights mechanisms, this course will ask what post-World War II conceptions of human rights mean for a number of specific issues including humanitarian intervention, international criminal justice, U.S. foreign policy, immigration, and economic rights. Looking in-depth at these five areas, we will ask how ideas about human rights, laws about human rights, and institutions to protect human rights have on how states and other global actors act, and how individuals have fared.


Political Science 111AC

The Politics of Displacement



The promise of the American political system was that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness would flow from the a priori maxim enunciated in the Declaration of Independence that all men were created equal and endowed with inalienable rights. This class explores the root of the American rejection of an inclusive democratic government at inception, and its connection to the rejection of European political authority. The way to understand that rejection may be found in the nation's social estrangement from Europe rather than in its dream of freedom from tyranny. The gradual erosion of a balance between decentralized and centralized power can be seen in the eclipse of anti-federalism, the inclusion of slavery, and in Indian Removal. All betray aspects of a compromise with the goal of an inclusive and balanced political authority in the United States. In this class, we see how the compromises between majority rule and minority rights broke down in a way that may have limited the American Founding. By looking closely at unbalanced relationships between majority communities and frontier democrats, African slaves, and Native Americans we reveal much about the struggle for political authority in antebellum society and its unresolved quarrel with the past. The class also utilizes film clips, contemporary news clippings and articles, and as indicated above, a reader and texts (ranging from Hannah Arendt to Herman Melville). This is a class in political theory, and depends heavily on discussion of the material and keeping up with the reading.


Political Science 123S

Selected Topics in International Relations: Gender and International Human Rights



Are human rights women's rights? Are women's rights human rights? This course examines the international human rights system (treaties, conventions, institutions and case law) through the lens of gender, exploring the ways in which they are organized around gendered assumptions that shape and limit their ability to reach and remedy the reality of women's lives. The course also considers the tension between international human rights law and local gender justice as well as how international human rights have evolved in response to the rise of global feminisms. The course explores these issues through a series of case studies examining such issues as sexual violence, human trafficking, religious freedom and women's access to education, health care and employment.


Political Science 124A




War, what is it good for? Asolutely nothing! Is this necessarily true? Wars are brutal and horrific events, but are they all necessarily the result of miscalculation, accident or fanaticism? Can war serve a rational purpose? Are wars governed by rules and do states care about these rules? Are some periods in history, particular parts of the world or certain types of states, more war prone than others? What are tribal, ethnic, religious or national groups actually fighting over? Can their conflicts be prevented, moderated or halted? Are democracies more peaceful than dictatorships? Are Protestants more peaceful than Catholics? Are women more peaceful than men? Is terrorism on the rise and why has it developed a unique relationship with religious fundamentalism? Have nuclear weapons changed the face of modern war? How do nuclear weapons work anyway?

This course seeks to answer these and other questions surrounding the phenomenon of war. We begin with a four-week survey of the history of war in the Western Hemisphere to examine the relationship between societies, the manner in which they fought and the weapons they used. We will then seek answers to riddle of war from a variety of disciplines: What can soldiers, philosophers, economists, psychologists and sociologists teach us about war?

The core of the course seeks to introduce students to theories of war from within International Relations theory. We will utilize in-class exercises, movies and discussion sections to get at some of the most challenging questions surrounding war. Finally, we will examine several pressing issues relating to modern warfare: the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, civil wars, genocide, religiously motivated violence, nonviolence, terrorism, and the future of war.


Political Science 124C

Ethics and Justice in International Affairs



Should nations intervene in other countries to prevent human rights abuses or famine? On what principles should immigration be based? Should wealthy states aid poorer states, and if so, how much? Is it ever right to go to war? And if so, when, and with what means? We will examine different traditions in moral thought and use these tools to make reasoned judgments about these and similar difficult moral problems such as these in world politics.


Rhetoric 166

Rhetoric in Law and Politics

On Freedom and Self-Determination



This course investigates the deployment of the rhetoric of freedom and self-determination in modern legal and political texts. We track the deployment of the rhetoric of freedom in political struggles (while focusing on revolutionary, anti-colonial and slave struggles) and examine the multiple practices of freedom signified by the word. In the legal field, we investigate the revival of the concept of self-determination in the early part of the twentieth century as one formation that many freedom struggles adopted as their end. We inquire into the colonial and imperial genealogies of self-determination and explore the shifts it has undergone as it became the end of many twentieth century freedom struggles and intersected with them. Through the example of freedom and self-determination, we will explore broader questions about the intersectionality of law and politics, the political constitutive effects of modern law, and the stakes of instituting, or destabilizing, the distinction between law and politics. We will read primary political and legal sources, as well as secondary texts, including philosophical, theoretical, and historical. In addition to the several assignments of the course, such as essays and collaborative presentations, students will also produce research papers.


Sociology 115G

Global Health and Social Justice

Nathan, L


This course examines the social forces that promote and sustain illness throughout the globe and contribute to illness outbreaks becoming epidemics and pandemics. Emphasizing the central roles of poverty and politics in shaping health risks, disparities within and across nations are explored. With the understanding that health is, at core, a social justice issue, this course reviews policies and programs that attempt to address health problems, some of which have helped to alleviate suffering and some of which have caused additional harm.


Sociology 130AC

Social Inequalities: American Cultures



This course explores the causes and consequences of inequality in the U.S. First, we will discuss theories and concepts scholars use to understand inequality. We then consider several institutions that sustain, reproduce and/or mitigate inequality in the U.S., such as education, labor markets, family structure, and the criminal justice system. Within each topic, we pay attention to the significance of race and ethnicity, social class, and gender.



Human Rights and Business

McElrath and Natour


Conventional wisdom has long been that the social responsibility of business is merely to increase its profits and provide jobs. Today, the idea that business has human rights responsibilities – moral and/or legal – is steadily gaining acceptance, and there is a strong business case for companies to address human rights risks. High profile cases such as poor working conditions in the electronics supply chain, business involvement in government surveillance, and environmental degradation from major energy projects have put human rights squarely on the business agenda. Major human rights organizations such as Amnesty International now monitor and report on human rights abuses by companies. A large and growing number of multinational corporations have adopted human rights policies, report on their human rights performance and employ human rights experts. Through lectures, class discussions, case studies, and guest speakers, this course is designed to: Provide students with a basic understanding of the international human rights framework and how business can impact and advance human rights. Students will also acquire a firm grasp of the steps necessary for companies to minimize human rights risks and maximize opportunities for positive impact; Describe and assess the ways in which companies manage human rights impacts, and the considerations involved in embedding human rights in corporate culture; Examine the scope of businesses’ human rights responsibility and how it differs from the government’s, the development of global standards, and the strategies employed by civil society to address the human rights impact of corporate activities; Encourage students to develop critical thinking skills in the area of human rights and business.