human rights and the emergence of global civil society
Human rights have been called "the idea of our time" and, more skeptically, "the last utopia." In this course, over two intense weeks we will examine the origins and impact of human rights not only on state behavior but also on the lives of ordinary people across the globe. Where do human rights come from, and how are they implemented and enforced? How has the emergence of what some call "global civil society" affected relations among states? Working in collaborative groups, students will examine existing international organizations, Non-Governmental Organizations and ad hoc advocacy efforts to address these important questions. Recent university graduates now working in such organizations will be part of case study workshops; and participants will have the opportunity to undertake site visits.
A previous course in international relations or political theory is desirable, but the class is open to all students eager for an intense and engaging learning experience.
July 15 - July 26, 2013
plir 3500: human rights and the emergence of global civili society
Upperclass undergraduates from Virginia and other universities. Pre-requisite as described. This is not a substitute for my big class PLIR 3310, but a supplement to it. Ideally students would have taken 3310, but readings will not assume this.
Morning seminar meetings (9.30-12.30) followed by afternoon workshops that will include invited guests, presentations on human-rights-related problems, IGOs, and NGOs. A special visit to Monticello is included.
I plan two main graded assignments: one short paper of 3-5 pages on readings due midway through the class, and a collaborative presentation in groups of 3-5 on a specific organization and the problems it addresses. Class participation will also be factored into a final letter-grade.
Ian Brownlie & A. Goodwin-Gill, Basic Documents on Human Rights, 5th edition.
Charles Beitz, The Idea of Human Rights.
Mary Ann Glendon, A World Made New.
Michael Haas, International Human Rights.
Louis Henkin, The Age of Rights.
Micheline Ishay, ed., The Human Rights Reader, 2nd ed.
William Korey, NGOs and the Universal Declaration of HumanRights.
Samuel Moyn, The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History.
Stephanie Nolen, 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa.
Elizabeth Pisani, The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels and the Business of AIDS
David Scheffer, All the Missing Souls
Kathryn Sikkink¸ The Justice Cascade
Websites of major NGOs will also be part of the class discussion, e.g.,
(My own faculty website, now a bit outdated, has many such sites:
Tuition and Fees:
|Tuition||$321 per Credit||
|Virginia Resident Total||
Non Virginia Resident
|Tuition||$1,119.00 per Credit||
|Non-Virginia Total Costs||
Michael Joseph Smith
Associate Professor of Politics,
Thomas C. Sorenson Professor of Politcal and Social Thought Associate Professor of History
Michael Joseph Smith is the Thomas C. Sorenson Professor of Political and Social Thought and Associate Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. He grew up in Yonkers, New York, where he attended public schools. He was an undergraduate at Harvard University, receiving his B.A. in 1973. He was then awarded a British Government Marshall Scholarship to Oxford University and received a Master of Philosophy degree from Oxford in 1976. After serving as a Lecturer in Politics at Merton College, Oxford for two years, he returned to Harvard for his Ph.D., which he received in 1982. He then taught as an Assistant Professor of Government and Social Studies at Harvard, and came to the University of Virginia in 1986.
At Virginia he currently directs the interdisciplinary, undergraduate Program in Political and Social Thought, and from 1994-99 he directed the Politics Department's Distinguished Majors program. He teaches courses on human rights, political thought, and on ethics and international relations; from 1988-99 he also taught in the Politics Honors program.