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Human Rights and the Body in Law and the Humanities
Fall 2002
Lecture: 12:20 - 1:10 PM, MWF, Williams 225 
Screenings: 6:45 - 9:30 PM, W, Williams 121-B

Hands Heart Legs Womb

Description (Inclusive of Human Rights Content and Methodology):

This course aims to use an interdisciplinary approach, inclusive of law, literature, critical theory and film, in order to examine evolving characterizations of international human rights and of the legal and political instruments designed for their protection, both in official legal and political documents, as well as fictional and documentary interpretations in literature and film. A key theme running through the course is an examination of how the “international human body” is configured in various texts: through United Nations reports on human rights; critical legal analyses; documentary films; fictional novels, and popular films.

After studying the theoretical and philosophical foundations of the idea of human rights in various civilizations and cultures, this course attempts to evaluate the legacy of human rights within both western and non-western traditions. This course also aims critically to examine the meaning and relevance of human rights in dealing with major issues in the contemporary world, such as torture, political repression, war crimes and genocide, refugees, women’s rights, children’s rights, violations of human rights within the U.S., and in a more specific case, the plight of immigrant women and children as described in the 1998 U.S. Violence Against Women Act.

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Last updated: May 2002