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Spring 2022 Reading Group

Contemporary Challenges in International Human Rights

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

The world has changed significantly since the establishment of the international human rights legal system. Human rights scholars and practitioners are now grappling with challenges that do not fit neatly into traditional state-citizen or victim-perpetrator paradigms, paradigms that grounded much of the international human rights legal system. Many of these challenges—such as climate change, economic inequality, digital surveillance, and mass migration—are not confined within the borders of singular nation-states. The issues implicated are subjects of intense political debate and contestation within and between countries, posing dilemmas for advocates promoting universal values. Moreover, proposed solutions implicate technology, economics, science, and sociology, as well as other disciplines outside of the law. Does international human rights law have a role to play? How should human rights advocates respond?

This reading group will explore the applicability of the international human rights framework to contemporary global challenges. Through scholarly articles, popular literature and multimedia, it will examine critiques of the international human rights system that touch on new dilemmas in the law. It will also introduce the work of advocates seeking rights-based approaches to these challenges, enabling participants to weigh in on contemporary debates in the human rights field.

Note: This reading group will meet on the following dates: Feb. 2, Feb. 9, Feb. 23, Mar. 9, Mar. 23, and Mar. 30.