Santa Clara University

Human Rights in a Global World

Facilitator: Catherine Montfort, Modern Languages

The variety of associated courses in this Pathway reflects the importance of theories of universal human rights and their applications to a multitude of issues involving oppressed and disadvantaged human groups around the globe. Most current debates focus on historical or contemporary cases of discrimination based on racial identity, gender, caste, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and age, which have produced deep social and economic inequalities, often given rise to violence, and occasionally led to ethnic cleansing and mass murder. At the same time, critics of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 also debate whether its definition of human rights exceeds what individuals can fairly demand from society and the state. Enforcing laws based on a concept of human rights often produces controversy.

Laws protecting the rights of minorities, immigrants, and/or refugees can infringe on what rival social groups consider to be their human rights. The definition of who is human, and thus deserving of these rights, also raises complex social, ethical and legal issues. If the unborn child, fertilized egg or even unfertilized egg is legally defined as a rights-bearing human being, how might that legal definition impinge on the rights of women and the general public? Can we even take for granted the universal applicability to other cultural traditions of human rights that were "invented" in the Enlightenment and expanded in Western thought and practice since then? Must we recognize a cultural bias in our own claims for "universal" human rights when we encounter cultures with a different social logic in keeping with their own religious and philosophical understandings? These are only some of the probing questions that any student who embarks on a Pathway on human rights in a global world will encounter.

Associated Courses

Foundations Courses
(Please note that only the specific Foundation course topics qualify for the Pathway requirements,
and only one Foundations course may be applied to a Pathway)

ENGL            2A            Global Rights and Perceptions
ENGL            12A          Justice & Literature
ENGL            12A          Rebellion & Conformity
HIST              12H          Rebellion & Conformity
HIST              12A          Slavery and Unfreedom
HNRS            12A          Rebellion & Conformity
PHIL              12A          Justice & the Just Society
PHIL              12A          Personal Identity & Community
PHIL              12A          Personhood and Human Dignity
POLI              2A            Making Change Happen
WGST           12A          Women in Transnational Perspective

Art History
*ARTH         143           Women's Work: American Women in the Visual Arts (cross-listed with WGST 156; formerly ARTH 188)
*ARTH         144           Race, Gender, and Nation in the 18th and 19th Century American Art
*ARTH         145           Perpetual Revolution: American Art in the 20th Century
ARTH           185           Post-Modern and Contemporary Art (formerly ARTH 183)

*ECON         135           Gender Issues in the Developing World (cross-listed with WGST 121)

ENGL            150EL      Contemporary Literature
ENGL            153           Studies in Global Gay and Lesbian Cultures (cross-listed with WGST 122)
ENGL            156           Interdisciplinary Gay and Lesbian Studies (cross-listed with WGST 136)
ENGL            165           Studies in African Literature
ENGL            166           Pan-African Literature

HIST             102S         Ethnic Cleansing and Genocide in the 20th Century (formerly HIST 102)
HIST             112           The Haitian Revolution in World History and Memory
HIST             115S         Gender, Race, and Citizenship in the Atlantic World
HIST             118           Representation, Rights, and Democracy, 1050-1792
HIST             121           Saving the World?: A Critical History of Human Rights and Humanitarianism
HIST             130           France and the World
HIST             130A        The French Enlightenment and Revolution in a Global Context
HIST             130B         Late Modern France & the World


INTL             139           Field Placement/Praxis

Modern Languages and Literatures
FREN            112          Human Rights in French, Black Africa and the Caribbean (taught in English)

Peace & Conflict Resolution
SIS                486-900T Peace & Conflict Resolution Seminar (American University Washington Semester Program)

PHIL             113           Ethics and Constitutional Law
PHIL             119           Special Topics: Applied Ethics (The Moral and Legal Status of Prenatal Humans; Nelson)

Religious Studies
*RSOC         33             Maya Spirituality
*RSOC        136            Religion in Latin America
*SCTR         128            Human Suffering and Hope
*SCTR         157            The Bible and Empire
*SCTR         158            Postcolonial Perspectives in the New Testament
*TESP          46              Faith, Justice, & Poverty

Women's and Gender Studies
*WGST         121           Gender Issues in the Developing World (cross-listed with ECON 135)
WGST           122           Studies in Global Gay and Lesbian Cultures (cross-listed with ENGL 153)
WGST           136           Interdisciplinary Gay and Lesbian Studies (cross-listed with ENGL 156)
*WGST         147           Postcolonial Perspectives in the New Testament (cross-listed with SCTR 158)
*WGST         156           American Women in the Visual Arts (cross-listed with ARTH 143)
WGST           169           Gender, Race, and Citizenship in the Atlantic World (cross-listed with HIST 115)

* Indicates Course Has Prerequisites