Category: Human Rights

Anthropology of Race

Lee Baker
AAAS 251/CultAnth208/ICS239/RIGHTS 208
Spring 2020

Human variation and the historical development of concepts of race; science and scientific racism; folk-concepts of race; and the political and economic causes of racism; ethics of racism.

Sociology of Racism in America

Eduardo de Silva or Tyson Haywood Brown
Fall 2019

Examines social history of major racial groups in the US and relationships to contemporary standing. Discusses central concepts sociologists use to analyze racial matters. Central theme: “racism” is not mere “prejudice,” “ignorance,” or “intolerance,” but a comprehensive historical system of racial domination organized around the logic of white supremacy. Discussion of “whiteness” in the USA—how whiteness emerged as a social category, an identity based on experiences of variety of European “peoples;” how it dominated the racial structure of the US since the 17th century, how wealth has been distributed along racial lines, racialization of Asians and Latinos, and color blind racism.

Identity and Linguistic Rights in the Spanish Speaking Americas

Liliana Paredes
Spring 2019

This course brings together the topics of language and human rights, exploring questions of language contact, bilingualism and endangered languages from the perspective of social injustices and human rights. The focus of the course is on how language is used to shape and negotiate identities and how it reflects and sustains social realities; this course will examine and reflect on situations of oppression and how they are associated to sociolinguistic attitudes, behavior and cultural expressions. Taught in Spanish.

Gateway Seminar: Civil Rights and Asian Americans

Sucheta Mazumdar (Course also taught by Susan Bramley Thananopavarn in Writing Program)
Spring 2020

Study of crucial legal and political moments in the struggle for equal civil rights of minorities, beginning with the laws of Chinese Exclusion, the struggle to define who was “White,” the Asian Immigration Exclusion Acts, the relationships of Asians and African Americans and the struggle for equal schooling in the American South, the Japanese Concentration camps, the Redress and Reparations Civil Rights struggle, and the involvement of Asians Americans in the African American-led Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, including working with Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and Asian Americans in the anti-sweatshop unionization movement.

Race, Genomics, and Society

Charmaine Royal
Fall 2019

The field of genetics has been at the forefront of discourse concerning the concept of “race” in humans. This course explores human origins, human variation, human identity, and human health through a broad range of enduring and emerging themes and challenging questions related to race and genetics (and now, genomics) on a global scale. Students will acquire knowledge and skills required for integrative analyses of the relevant scientific, ethical, legal, societal, cultural, and psychosocial issues. Open to students at all levels from any discipline in the arts, humanities, and sciences (natural, social, formal, and applied).

Martin Luther King and the Prophetic Tradition

Omid Safi
Spring 2020

Perhaps more than any other figure in 20th century America, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is usually presented as an iconic solitary figure who floats above history and represents the fulfillment of the American “Dream.”This course charts a different path, insisting that King has to be read as a situated historical figure who must be engaged within multiple contexts of the segregated American South, a decades long struggle against racism, and also a global discourse of anti-colonialism.The emphasis will be on Dr. King as one key component of a wider black liberationist tradition.The course will consist of a unit in which we will examine the *movement* that produced Dr. King and Dr. King in turn contributed to. We will examine the significant writings and events in Dr. King’s life, from the Montgomery Bus Boycott to the March on Washington, Riverside Church, and Poor People’s Campaign. In the second section, we will examine movements that trace themselves to Dr. King’s legacy, including Rev. Barber and Cornel West today.In the third section we will look at parallel (and at times competing black liberationist traditions of Malcolm X, James Baldwin, and other figures.

Refugees, Rights, Resettlement

Suzanne Shanahan
Fall 2019

35 million refugees and internally displaced persons in the world. A comparative historical overview of international refugee policy and law dealing with this growing population. Students will grapple with the ethical challenges posed by humanitarian intervention on behalf of refugees and the often unintended consequences of such policies. Students examine case studies to determine how different models for dealing with refugee resettlement affect the life chances of refugees. Service-learning course. Students will work with refugees from Bhutan, Burma and Iraq recently resettled in Durham.

Environment and Conflict: The Role of the Environment in Conflict and Peacebuilding

Erika Weinthal
Fall 2018

Environmental and natural resources as a source of conflict and/or peacebuilding between and within nations and states. Analysis of the role of the environment in the conflict cycle and international security. Topics include refugees, climate change, water, and infectious disease. Particular focus on post-conflict and rebuilding in war-torn societies. Examination of the role of international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and emerging standards for environmental management. Examples drawn from conflicts such as Rwanda, Israel/Palestine, Nepal, Sierra Leone and others.

Comparative Urban Politics and Policymaking

Kerry L. Haynie, Ralph Bruce Lawrence
Fall 2018

A comparative examination and analysis of urban governance in South Africa and the US. Examines potential consequences of persistent racial and class disparities for housing and neighborhoods, public health, education, community infrastructure, and general economic and social development. Specific attention to how the physical layout, government structures, politics, culture, and the civil society of cities and urban areas may both promote and hinder human development and social justice

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