Human Rights Advocacy
An introduction to human rights advocacy, with a practical component. Half of the course focuses on the history and theory of human rights advocacy: what is it to make claims for human rights, or to denounce their violation, especially on behalf of others? How and when and why have individuals and groups spoken out, mounted campaigns, published reports and exposés? How do they address, challenge, and sometimes work with governments and international organizations like the United Nations? We will look at human rights advocacy from the campaign to abolish the slave trade to the founding of Amnesty International. How has the human rights movement come to be defined by transnational advocacy networks - and how do they in turn define what human rights are? This half of the course serves as an introduction to human rights work as a mode of legal and political practice. The other half of the course involves hands-on work with the human rights organization Scholars at Risk on the case of a detained Uyghur scholar in China. We will research her case, communicate with the family and other advocates, write country and case profiles, propose strategies and tactics for pressuring governments and other powerful actors, and develop appeals to public opinion -- all while recognizing the ethical and political risks this work may involve. Readings include texts by Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink, Adam Hochschild, Stephen Hopgood, Judith Butler, Stanley Cohen, Ben Mauk, and others, including an intensive introduction to the politics of Xinjiang and the Uyghur community. Taught in conjunction with parallel seminars at Al Quds- Bard, Bard College Berlin and the American University of Central Asia. Information about Scholars at Risk can be found at scholarsatrisk.org.
Faculty course leads: Kerry Bystrom, Bard College Berlin, [email protected] and Tom Keenan, Bard College, [email protected]
Collaborating institutions: Al Quds Bard College of Arts & Sciences, American University of Central Asia, Bard College, and Bard College Berlin
Cross Reference: Course,Education,Network Collaborative Course, Course