The courses listed below represent the best available sampling of courses currently taught at UNCG whose content focuses substantially on Human Rights issues and which would typically qualify for credit toward the HR concentration in IGS. The list was originally compiled by the Human Rights Research Network and has been updated here based upon consultation-related feedback. In some instances, the courses are “shells” in which topics vary according to instructor.
All courses for the concentration must meet the approval of the IGS Director.
(available 100-level courses leading into the major but not eligible for credit toward it)
Geography 114: The Geography of World Affairs - Contemporary problems and issues of and between nations of the world as they have evolved in their geographical settings.
Philosophy 121: Contemporary Moral Problems - Philosophical readings and discussion of such current topics as abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, censorship, sexual morality, affirmative action and preferential hiring, environmental ethics, population control, and the morality of war.
AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES
African American Studies 201: Introduction to African American Studies - Introduction to African American culture through a historical and social perspective.
African American Studies 210: Blacks in American Society: Social, Economic, and Political Perspectives - Social, political, economic experience of blacks in the United States . Topics include the black family, Civil Rights Movement, black politicians, and blacks in the labor market.
Anthropology 310: Brave New Worlds: Biotechnology and Society - Examines the interface between science and society, focusing on the sociopolitical import of emerging biotechnologies that impact people's lives—from issues of health and family to immigration and criminal justice.
Anthropology 325: Caribbean Societies and Cultures - Types of social systems and cultural patterns in the West Indies arising from relations between Europeans, West Africans, and Asians, with implications for development, social change, and identity.
Anthropology 450: Anthropology in the Environment: Culture, Environment, and Adaptation - Through an anthropological lens this course examines various theoretical approaches to culture and the environment. Issues of social justice, cultural preservation, and natural resource access will be addressed through case studies.
Anthropology 589 (EXP): The Social Roots of Infectious Disease - Exploration of the specific political, historical, cultural, and economic processes and pressures that have shaped the current global epidemics of HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria. The course will draw on the work of critical medical anthropologists and sociologists as well as the United Nations Millennium Project.
Business Management 475: Employment and Human Resource Law - National Labor Relations Act, Fair Labor Standards Act (including equal employment), and other statutes and court decisions relating to employment relations and their effect on managerial practices.
Chemistry 252: Chemistry and the Human Environment - Study of chemical problems central to current technological, biomedical, and environmental issues. Topics include energy alternatives, food chemicals, environmental chemistry, molecular basis of drug action, and consumer products.
Communication Studies 344: Conflict Communication - Course explores how communication is central to expressing opposing voices and managing conflicted relationships, change, diversity/difference, and identities.
Communication Studies 506: Speaking Out for Community Change - Exploration of theory and practice in community advocacy. Focus on public deliberation, moral conflict, and community dialogue in value-laden topics and controversies.
Economics 370: Labor Economics - Examination of wage and employment determination in U.S. labor markets. Topics include labor supply and labor demand theory, investments in education and training, job search and migration, unemployment, unions, racial and sex discrimination, income inequality, and public policy.
Economics 570: Topics in Labor Economics - Advanced theory and research related to labor supply and demand theory, investments in human capital, job search theory, migration, unemployment, theories of discrimination, income distribution theory, and public policy.
English 208: Topics in Global Literature - Variable topics, with emphasis on regional interconnections. Offerings may include Europe at War, World Women Writers, Literature and Revolution, and Holocaust Literature.
English 209: Topics in Non-Western Literatures - Variable topics, including recently postcolonial literatures, women’s postcolonial writing, literature of India, Africa, and the Diaspora.
English 315: Postcolonial Literatures - Literature from South Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Australia, and Canada marked by the experience of European colonialism. Topics include non-European literary forms, colonization, political resistance, nationalism, gender, postcolonial predicaments.
English 329 (as taught by Pr. Alexandra Schultheis): Literature and Film - Spring 2009: Human Rights in Literature and Film.
History 212 (as taught by Prof. Tom Jackson): The US: A General Survey - Topic: The US Since 1865: Human Rights and the American Equal Rights Tradition: This is both a survey of U.S. history since 1865 and a close examination of case studies when the American equal rights tradition underwent debate, conflict and change. Throughout U.S. history, Americans have debated central questions about the meanings of freedom and national citizenship. What rights – civil, political, cultural, economic and social – should American citizens (and resident noncitizens) enjoy as a free people? How should these rights be defended or expanded? What action should government take (or avoid) to make these rights real for everyone? Who should be included in the circle of “We the People?” In our pursuit of “a more perfect union,” should we look to the fulfillment of American constitutional rights, or do we need to understand and fight for broader human rights?
History 218 (as taught by Pr. Jeff Jones): The World of the 20th Century - This class examines global issues in the contemporary world, focusing mainly on the post-World War II period, from the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945, to the complex, high-tech, evolving world of today. It views this history from the point of view of those living it, including students in the class themselves. Everyone has an "historical consciousness," an understanding of the way the world became what it is today, and the main purpose of this class is to introduce students to alternative ways of interpreting history by weighing the merits of differing points of view.
History 301: Race and Slavery - An examination of the African-American experience from ancient to modern times, including precolonial Africa, the Atlantic slave trade, slavery in the Americas with special emphasis on the United States before the Civil War.
History 303: South Africa and Its Neighbors - Early African societies and states, slave trade and slavery, European settlement and expansion, mineral revolution, colonialism and independence in Zimbabwe, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia; apartheid and African nationalism in South Africa.
History 332: Civil Rights and Black Freedom, 1940–1980 - Southern and national civil rights politics in light of local and human rights dimensions of the wider black freedom movement. Special attention to leadership, economics, local movements, and white resistance.
History 381 (as taught by April Najjaj): The Near and Middle East - This course considers the history of the Middle East broadly defined (from Morocco to Iran). We begin with an introduction to Islam and then proceed from 19th Century colonialism to the modern day. Using a topical rather than chronological approach, the course includes discussions of nationalism and Islamic "fundamentalism," the Arab-Israeli conflict, the struggles for natural resources, the civil war in Lebanon, the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and the continuing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We conclude with consideration of 20th Century Middle Eastern society and culture, including themes in literature, art, and architecture, and contemporary social issues, such as the status of women and of human rights. Student readings and discussion are emphasized.
History 382A (EXP.): The Unfit: American “Race” Cleansing - From 1880 to well into the twentieth century, America pioneered the international movement to cleanse society of those deemed biologically “degenerate” or “unfit”. Families in American competed in county fairs like cows and horses to win ribbons as the “Fitter Families”. Laws that forcibly segregated and sterilized non-whites, women, immigrants, and the disabled made a shambles of human rights in the name of eugenics. This course will concentrate on the social and scientific influences that produced the eugenics movement, one of the great tragedies in the history of the relation between science and society. We will also explore the vestiges of eugenics present in our society today.
History 587: Southern African History - The rise and decline of African nations in nineteenth-century southern Africa : economic and social change; the creation of the Union of South Africa and the roots of apartheid.
INTERNATIONAL AND GLOBAL STUDIES
International and Global Studies 400: Capstone Seminar in International and Global Studies - An advanced interdisciplinary seminar dealing with contemporary problems in international and global affairs. This course will focus on “Human Rights in Asia within the Global Context” when team-taught by Prs. Schultheis (ENG) and Grieg (REL) in spring 2010.
Philosophy 331: Social and Political Philosophy - Major writings on social freedom or liberty, coercion, human rights, justice, and the basis of political authority.
Philosophy 335: Philosophy of Law - Theories of the origin and justification of legal systems, our obligation to obey the law, justice, punishment, and related issues. Readings from classical and contemporary sources.
Philosophy 338: Ethics and International Affairs - Critical discussion of topics such as human rights, the morality of war and terrorism, international distributive justice, poverty and international aid, self-determination and secession, immigration policy, and global environmental issues.
Philosophy 361: Ethical Issues in Business - Ethical theory and its application to business: economic justice, corporate responsibility, self-regulation and government regulation, conflict of interest, investment policy, advertising, and environmental responsibility.
Political Science 260: Introduction to Comparative Politics - This course offers an introduction to concepts and theories relevant for the study of comparative government. A central purpose of the comparative study of government is to understand the origins and differences between political systems. This course starts with an overview of concepts useful for understanding comparative governments, stressing their normative as well as their positive connotations. It then shifts to understanding the principal forms of government in the modern world. This class ends by considering why countries become democratic through case studies of Uruguay and South Africa.
Political Science 341 (as taught by Pr. Robert Griffiths): International Law - Introduction and analysis of the fundamentals of international law and its role in the contemporary international system. According to the instructor, this course involves substantial discussion of human rights.
Political Science 392: The Politics of South Africa through Film and Literature - This course uses film and literature as the vehicle to examine the issues associated with the remarkable evolution of South African politics from the institutionalized racism of apartheid through the transformation to majority rule.
Public Health Education 307: Topics in International Health - Study of international health focusing on health care, conditions, and disease in industrialized and non-industrialized nations; public health and health education approaches to prevention of problems causing morbidity and mortality.
Public Health Education 303: Topics in Violence, Injury, and Health - Study of types and extent of intentional and unintentional injury, risk factors for, and analysis of public health and health education approaches to prevention.
Public Health Education 471: Immigrant and Refugee Health - Overview of issues affecting health promotion among immigrant and refugee populations. Focus on migration, dislocation, resettlement, adjustment, historical, epidemiological, behaviors, cultural, socioeconomic, and political factors, and interventions to address needs.
Religion 251: Topics in Religious Social Ethics - Inquiry into the social teachings of diverse religious traditions with respect to such current topics as economic development and social justice, human rights, democracy, freedom, human well-being and the environment.
Religion 368/English 329 (as taught by Pr. Alexandra Schultheis and Pr. Gregory Grieve): Religion South Asia: Film/Human Rights in Asian Literature - What does it mean to be Human? What rights does this guarantee us? On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states the "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." Using literature and film, as well as primary religious scripture (particularly Buddhist and Hindu), this seminar will focus on egregious human rights violations in four contexts: 1) Hinduism and Gandhi's politics of ahimsa (nonviolence) as it relates to the riots of Partition; 2) engaged Buddhist Thich Nhat Hahn's Theravadan teachings and his opposition to the Vietnam War; 3) the Dalai Lama's integration of human rights language and Tibetan Buddhism in working for Tibetan self-determination; and 4) the on-going conflict between Maoists, Hindu Royalists, and Parliamentarians in Nepal. The course facilitates an understanding of the meaning, basis, historical roots, and practical significance of human rights, with special attention given to questions of cultural relativism and historical context, especially the incorporation of international human rights norms into domestic national settings.
Sociology 202: Social Problems in a Global Context - This course examines causes of and responses to critical social problems in different world regions with a focus on the dimensions and impacts of globalization.
Sociology 227: Race and Ethnic Relations - Interaction between peoples of differing racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, with comparison of American relationships to those in other parts of the world.
Sociology 323: Global Deviance - Explores and examines contemporary meaning and forms of deviant behavior using cross cultural and international perspectives.
Sociology 328: Social Movements - Systematic study of such forms of collective social behavior as social movements and revolutions with a strong international and comparative focus.
Sociology 342: Social Inequality - Examination of social stratification systems and theories, economic prestige, power inequalities, social mobility, and class consciousness.
Sociology 344: Global Society - Examines the interdependent development of formal organizations, communities, and societies as large scale social systems. Special attention is given to inter-societal relationships and the world system. Application to contemporary social issues is stressed.
Sociology 371: Immigration, Ethnicity, and Race in a Global Context - Examination of ethnic and racial relations and conflicts, especially in societies outside of the U.S. Special attention to the causes of international migration and its consequences for racial and ethnic relations.
Sociology 375: International Field Research - In addition to providing students with an opportunity for experiencing first-hand a foreign culture, this course proposes to engage students in leaning about issues of international concern. The course emphasizes global discovery through direct interaction with individuals in other countries. The students, after theoretical and methodological training, will engage a sociological project that will employ their research skills in interviewing, observing, and/or surveying members of a non-US society in Eurasia, the Caribbean, Central and Latin America, East Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Pacific Islands. The course will reinforce academic readings with direct participation in an international setting. Student will write a field research report based on the analysis and interpretation of data collected while in the foreign setting.
Sociology 430: Miscarriages of Justice - Examines the causes and consequences of the wrongful conviction of innocent individuals within the American criminal justice system.
Sociology 429 (EXP): Collective Violence & Nonviolence in Global Perspective - The central aim of this course is to explain why contention takes a violent turn sometimes and a nonviolent turn at other times. To accomplish this objective of sorting out nonviolent versus violent outcomes, we will study the dynamics of these “clash of forces” through a comparative case study approach. In particular, we will be mindful of the relationships among power, politics, and violence. We will also focus on social conditions that create a climate for collective violence and collective nonviolence.
Sociology 526: Comparative Minority Relations - Comparative study of ethnic, class, and cultural conflict in developing and developed societies. Attention is given to the impact of ethnicity and class conflict upon societal development and change in the international setting.
Specialized Education Services Courses 400: Global Perspectives on Deafness - Global perspectives of deaf people in other countries including perspectives on identity, language, human rights issues, education, advocacy, and social and economic self-sufficiency.
WOMEN’S & GENDER STUDIES
Women’s and Gender Studies 333: Gendered Worlds - Explores social problems, movements, and change related to gender in specific cultural, historical, political contexts. Advances a questioning of one's position in gendered relations of power in a constantly changing world.