Human Rights Studies

226-D Milbank Hall  
Department Assistant: Maia Bernstein, 326 Milbank, 212-854-4689


The Human Rights Studies Program introduces Barnard undergraduates to the basic normative, theoretical and empirical knowledge and skills necessary to contribute cogently to public debates and policy initiatives related to social justice in the modern world.  This mission reflects the proliferation of human rights concerns and the associated growth of public and private human rights institutions over the past half century, but more importantly the daunting theoretical and practical challenges that still remain.  Human Rights Studies at Barnard is an interdisciplinary program, a joint major that combines the study of human rights with a complementary disciplinary, regional or other expertise at the choice of each student.   These options include but are not limited to Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, Comparative Literature, English, French, German, History, Italian, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Slavic, Sociology, Spanish, and Women's Studies.

Student Learning Goals

Human rights learning objectives fall into four broad categories:

  • Competence with respect to the normative dimensions concerned with social justice, and the related institutions.
  • Mastery of the empirical skills required to collect, evaluate and report accurately data on human rights abuses and institutional activities.
  • A basic knowledge of the causes and effects associated with human rights situations, including the factors that ameliorate or aggravate violations.
  • An understanding of the factors that contribute to effective remedial or response strategies and take into account the different political, economic, social and cultural contexts of each set of problems.

Student Learning Outcomes

In the case of undergraduate women majoring in human rights, these four broad goals would require students to possess the following knowledge and skills. The capacity to:

  1. Identify, and understand the work of, the main public and private institutions that comprise the modern international human rights regime.
  2. Identify the main past and present currents of theory and practice that define and challenge the contemporary consensus on human rights norms, particularly with respect to the core concepts of discrimination, equality, diversity, pluralism and human dignity.
  3. Identify and trace the impact of the major events over the last hundred years that have led to the formation of the contemporary human rights norms and institutions.
  4. Understand the major taxonomies, paradigms and current debates in the field of international human rights.
  5. Exhibit competency in the integration of normative, institutional, public policy and empirical materials.
  6. Understand the ways in which international standards are implemented and enforced in both international and domestic fora, including the nature of the obligations on states and other national and international actors.
  7. Think and write critically about human rights institutions, theories, strategies and their relationship to other social priorities.
  8. Discuss in detail two or more case studies, groups at risk, or specific human rights problems such as public health, specific rights, refugees, indigenous people, poverty etc., incorporating as appropriate the resources of other Barnard departments and programs.
  9. Identify the ways in which the human rights regime offers tools to address violations of women’s human rights as well as the ways in which women have been influential in the field.
  10. Examine the relationships between human rights paradigms and those in related fields, notably development studies, peace and conflict management, security studies, social work, refugee and migration studies and especially women’s studies.
  11. Complete and defend advanced original research that draws on diverse sources and addresses one or more of the above questions.

Human rights studies at Barnard is designed to contribute to a liberal arts curriculum.   Its cross-disciplinary character enriches and benefits from Barnard’s teaching in the humanities and social sciences.  Its core courses examine critically universally accepted intellectual and political frameworks for debates on social justice, i.e. international human rights law.  Many of these debates focus on domestic and international issues that are the grist of ongoing political and ethical debates that are legitimately the concern of all citizens and for which they ought to be well prepared.  As such, human rights studies forms an integral part of the expanding field of international education at Barnard.  The Program draws on Columbia’s and NYC’s unique human and documentary resources.  It also provides an intellectual base and appropriate skills for social advocacy. These different dimensions do not coincide with individual disciplines.  The range of issues that now fall within the field of human rights is extensive, reflecting the scope of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its subsequent associated treaties.  The unique and defining dimensions of human rights studies are the problems raised by its normative and prescriptive or remedy-oriented dimensions (the first and the fourth of the fields of study above).

Director: J.C. Salyer
Committee on Human Rights Studies: Elizabeth Bernstein (Women's Studies), Alex Cooley (Political Science), Ayten Gündoğdu (Political Science), J. Paul Martin (Human Rights Studies), Rachel McDermott (Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures), Anupama Rao (History), Rajiv Sethi (Economics), Paige West (Anthropology)

Additional members of the faculty offering courses on human rights:

Nadia Abu El-Haj (Anthropology), Séverine Autesserre (Political Science), James Basker (English), Sheri Berman (Political Science), Kaiama Glover (French), Larry Heuer (Psychology), Janet Jakobsen (Women's Studies), Brian Larkin (Anthropology/Africana Studies), Xiaobo Lü (Political Science), Kimberly Marten (Political Science), J. Paul Martin (Human Rights), José Moya (History), Jonathan Rieder (Sociology)

Requirements for the Combined Major

A minimum of six courses in the Human Rights Program, including either HRTS BC1025 Human Rights in Theory and Practice or  HRTS UN3001 Introduction to Human Rights and at least two other courses from among those designated "core courses"; three "related" courses; and a complete major in a relevant department. Where courses in the Human Rights Program also satisfy departmental requirements, no more than three Human Rights courses may count toward the major. Besides the six courses in the Human Rights Program, students submit a senior thesis or project in the area of human rights, written in the major department. Those interested in a combined major should consult with the Director or other members of the Committee on Human Rights Program. 

Designated Core Courses:

HRTS BC1025Human Rights in Theory and Practice3
HRTS UN3001Introduction to Human Rights3
HRTS BC3099Independent Study1-4
HRTS UN3190International Human Rights Law3
POLS BC3254First Amendment Values (T 4:10-6:00pm)3
POLS BC3410*Colloquium on Human Rights in a Diverse World (M 2:10-4:00pm)4
POLS BC3505* Colloquium on Making Democracy Work4
POLS BC3601International Law and the United Nations in Practice4
POLS UN3690International Law4
HRTS BC3850Human Rights and Public Health4
HRTS BC3855Religion, Social Justice, and Human Rights4
ANTH BC3911The Social Contexts of U.S. Immigration Law and Policy4
ANTH BC3913Inequalities: Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in U.S. Law and Society4
HRTS BC3931Seminar for Internships in Social Justice and Human Rights3
ANTH BC3932Climate Change, Global Migration, and Human Rights in the Anthropocene4
HRTS GU4215NGOs and the Human Rights Movement: Strategies, Successes and Challenges3
HRTS GU4230Refugees, Forced Migration, and Displacement3
HRTS GU4270 Social Media and Human Rights: Actors, Advocacy and Analytics3
HRTS GU4300Economic and Social Rights in Policy and Practice3
HRTS G4320Human Rights and Foreign Policy3
HRTS GU4400Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Human Rights3
HRTS GU4600Human Rights in the Anthropocene3
HRTS GU4650Children's Rights Advocacy3
HRTS GU4700Ethical Dilemmas in Healthcare: A Human Rights Approach3
HRTS GU4810Religion and Human Rights3
HRTS GU4915Human Rights and Urban Public Space3
HRTS GU4930International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights4
HRTS GU4955Narrative and Representation in Post-Conflict Societites3

Core Courses

HRTS BC1025 Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values.

Provides a broad overview of the rapidly expanding field of human rights. Lectures on the philosophical, historical, legal and institutional foundations are interspersed with weekly presentations by frontline advocates from the U.S. and overseas.

Spring 2019: HRTS BC1025
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 1025 001/05170 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
328 Milbank Hall
J. Paul Martin 3 46/60

HRTS UN3001 Introduction to Human Rights. 3 points.

Evolution of the theory and content of human rights; the ideology and impact of human rights movements; national and international human rights law and institutions; their application with attention to universality within states, including the U.S., and internationally.

Fall 2019: HRTS UN3001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 3001 001/57007 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Andrew Nathan 3 131/150

HRTS BC3099 Independent Study. 1-4 points.

Independent research and writing project. See the website or the program office for application details and deadlines.

POLS UN3173 Power, Rights, and Social Change: Achieving Justice. 4 points.

This lecture course, accompanied by its weekly discussion section, will introduce students to the field of justice. It will combine an intellectual history of conceptions of justice and modes of political change with an exploration of the main areas of public interest and advocacy. The course is intended to serve as a bridge from the Columbia Core to present issues of social justice. Throughout, the discussion will question how we—contemporary subjects and citizens—can improve our social and political condition and achieve justice.

HRTS UN3190 International Human Rights Law. 3 points.

This course will introduce students to the international law of human rights, and give a basic orientation to fundamental issues and controversies. The course has two principal focal points: first, the "nuts and bolts" of how international law functions in the field of human rights, and second, the value and limitations of legal approaches to a variety of human rights issues. Throughout the course, both theoretical and practical questions will be addressed, including who bears legal duties and who can assert legal claims, how these duties might be enforced, and accountability and remedy for violations. Attention will be given to how international law is made, what sorts of assumptions underlie various legal mechanisms, and how the law works in a variety of contexts.

Spring 2019: HRTS UN3190
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 3190 001/68749 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
253 Engineering Terrace
Dinah Po Kempner 3 20/22
Fall 2019: HRTS UN3190
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 3190 001/56979 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
Belinda Cooper 3 18/22

POLS BC3254 First Amendment Values. 3 points.

Prerequisites: POLS W1201 or an equivalent. Not an introductory course. Not open to students who have taken the colloquium POLS BC3302.

Examines the first amendment rights of speech, press, religion and assembly. In-depth analysis of landmark Supreme Court rulings provides the basis for exploring theoretical antecedents as well as contemporary applications of such doctrines as freedom of association, libel, symbolic speech, obscenity, hate speech, political speech, commercial speech, freedom of the press and religion. (Cross-listed by the American Studies Program.)

Spring 2019: POLS BC3254
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3254 001/01940 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
323 Milbank Hall
Paula Franzese 3 49/58

POLS UN3285 Freedom of Speech and Press. 3 points.

Examines the constitutional right of freedom of speech and press in the United States. Examines, in depth, various areas of law, including extremist or seditious speech, obscenity, libel, fighting words, the public forum doctrine, and public access to the mass media. Follows the law school course model, with readings focused on actual judicial decisions.

Fall 2019: POLS UN3285
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3285 001/99768 M W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
501 Schermerhorn Hall
Lee Bollinger 3 198/199

POLS BC3410 *Colloquium on Human Rights in a Diverse World. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Not open to students who have taken or are currently taking POLS UN3002. Prerequisites: POLS V1013 or HRTS UN3001 or the equivalent. Admission by application through the Barnard department only. Enrollment limited to 16 students.

 Examination of human rights within the context of international migration. The course covers topics such as citizenship, state sovereignty, border control, asylum-seekers, refugees, and undocumented immigrants. (Cross-listed by the Human Rights Program.) 

Fall 2019: POLS BC3410
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3410 001/09119 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Ayten Gundogdu 4 10/16

POLS BC3505 * Colloquium on Making Democracy Work. 4 points.

Prerequisites: POLS V1501 or the equivalent. Admission by application through the Barnard department only. Enrollment limited to 16 students. Barnard syllabus.

Examination of democratic consolidation and promotion. What makes democracy work and what, if anything, can outside actors do to help this process along? Topics include the theoretical literature on democratic consolidation, historical cases of intervention, debates about America’s role in promoting democracy, and examination of some of the research on democracy promotion. (Cross-listed by the Europen Studies and Human Rights Programs.)

POLS BC3521 Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. 3 points.

Prerequisites: POLS W1201 or the equivalent. Not an introductory-level course. Not open to students who have taken the colloquium POLS BC3326. Enrollment limited to 25 students; L-course sign-up through eBear. Barnard syllabus.

Explores seminal caselaw to inform contemporary civil rights and civil liberties jurisprudence and policy.  Specifically, the readings examine historical and contemporary first amendment values, including freedom of speech and the press, economic liberties, takings law, discrimination based on race, gender, class and sexual preference, affirmative action, the right to privacy, reproductive freedom, the right to die, criminal procedure and adjudication, the rights of the criminally accused post-9/11 and the death penalty. (Cross-listed by the American Studies and Human Rights Programs.)

Fall 2019: POLS BC3521
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3521 001/09166 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Paula Franzese 3 52/58

HRTS BC3601 International Law and the United Nations in Practice. 4 points.

Prerequisites: POLS UN1601 or HRTS UN3001 An equivalent course to POLS UN1601 or HRTS UN3001 may be used as a pre-requisite, with departmental permission.

Examines the development of international law and the United Nations, their evolution in the Twentieth Century, and their role in world affairs today. Concepts and principles are illustrated through their application to contemporary human rights and humanitarian challenges, and with respect to other threats to international peace and security.  The course consists primarily of presentation and discussion, drawing heavily on the practical application of theory to actual experiences and situations. For the Barnard Political Science major, this seminar counts as elective credit only. (Cross-listed by the Human Rights Program.)

POLS UN3690 International Law. 4 points.

What is public international law, and what does it influence the behavior of states, corporations, and individuals in the international system? This introductory course engages these questions as well as the politics of applying and enforcing public international law in various contexts and issue areas. An understanding of basic international legal principles, institutions, and processes is developed through exploration of foundational cases, and by means of (required) participation in a multi-week group simulation of an international legal dispute.

Spring 2019: POLS UN3690
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3690 001/15908 M W 8:40am - 9:55am
407 International Affairs Bldg
Tonya Putnam 4 41/54

HRTS BC3850 Human Rights and Public Health. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Enrollment in the course is open to 18 undergraduates who have completed at least one core course in human rights and /or international law.

This seminar introduces students to the field of health and human rights.  It examines how to advocate for and implement public health strategies using a human rights framework. It takes note of current international and domestic debates about the utility of a “human rights-based approach” to health, discusses methods and ethics of health-related human rights research, and examines case studies of human rights investigations to explore the role of human rights analysis in promoting public health.  

Spring 2019: HRTS BC3850
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 3850 001/05964 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
903 Altschul Hall
Alice Brown 4 19/24

HRTS BC3855 Religion, Social Justice, and Human Rights. 4 points.

Prerequisites: At least one course on Human Rights or Religion, or permission of the instructor

This seminar will provide students with the concepts and methodologies necessary to assess some of the different, often ambiguous, roles that the world's major religions play in contemporary international affairs, notably in relation to poverty alleviation and human rights abuses in general as well as to the use of violence and community relations.

Fall 2019: HRTS BC3855
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 3855 001/08471 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
J. Paul Martin 4 20/20

ANTH BC3911 The Social Contexts of U.S. Immigration Law and Policy. 4 points.

Examines the historical and contemporary social, economic, and political factors that shape immigration law and policy along with the social consequences of those laws and policies.  Addresses the development and function of immigration law and aspects of the immigration debate including unauthorized immigration, anti-immigration sentiments, and critiques of immigration policy.

ANTH BC3913 Inequalities: Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in U.S. Law and Society. 4 points.

This class will examine the historical roots and ongoing persistence of social, economic, and political inequality and the continuing role that it plays in U.S. society by examining how such issues have been addressed both in social science and in law.

HRTS BC3931 Seminar for Internships in Social Justice and Human Rights. 3 points.

Corequisites: Students must have an internship related to social justice or human rights during

This class is intended to complement and enhance the internship experience for students working in internships that relate to social justice and human rights during the Spring 2016 semester. This course will meet bi-weekly to provide an academic framing of the issues that students are working on and to provide an opportunity for students to analyze their internship experience.

ANTH BC3932 Climate Change, Global Migration, and Human Rights in the Anthropocene. 4 points.

While the existence of processes of anthropogenic climate change is well established, predictions regarding the future consequences of these processes are far less certain. In no area is the uncertainty regarding near and long term effects as pronounced as in the question of how climate change will affect global migration. This course will address the issue of climate migration in four ways.  First, the course will examine the theoretical and empirical literatures that have elucidated the nature of international migration in general.  Second, the course will consider the phenomena of anthropogenic climate change as it relates to migration.  Third, the course will consider how human rights and other legal regimes do or do not address the humanitarian issues created by anthropogenic climate change.  Fourth, the course will synthesize these topics by considering how migration and climate change has arisen as a humanitarian, political, and economic issue in the Pacific.  Human Rights elective.  

HRTS GU4185 Human Rights and Global Economic Justice. 3 points.

The world economy is a patchwork of competing and complementary interests among and between governments, corporations, and civil society.  These stakeholders at times cooperate and also conflict over issues of global poverty, inequality, and sustainability. What role do human rights play in coordinating the different interests that drive global economic governance?  This seminar will introduce students to different structures of global governance for development, trade, labor, finance, the environment, migration, and intellectual property and investigate their relationship with human rights.  Students will learn about public, private, and mixed forms of governance, analyze the ethical and strategic perspectives of the various stakeholders and relate them to existing human rights norms.  The course will examine the work of multilateral organizations such as the United Nations and the International Financial Institutions, as well as international corporate and non-governmental initiatives.

Spring 2019: HRTS GU4185
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4185 001/12500 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
309 Hamilton Hall
Rainer Braun 3 4/22

HRTS GU4215 NGOs and the Human Rights Movement: Strategies, Successes and Challenges. 3 points.

This class takes a social movement perspective to analyze and understand the international human rights movement. The course will address the evolution of the international human rights movement and focus on the NGOs that drive the movement on the international, regional and domestic levels. Sessions will highlight the experiences of major human rights NGOs and will address topics including strategy development, institutional representation, research methodologies, partnerships, networks, venues of engagement, campaigning, fundraising and, perhaps most importantly, the fraught and complex debates about adaptation to changing global circumstances, starting with the pre-Cold War period and including some of the most up-to-date issues and questions going on in this field today.

Fall 2019: HRTS GU4215
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4215 001/56990 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Louis Bickford 3 5/22

HRTS GU4230 Refugees, Forced Migration, and Displacement. 3 points.

Refugees, forced migration, and displacement: these subjects top the headlines of the world’s newspapers, not to mention our social media feeds. Over a million refugees have reached Europe’s shores in recent years, and conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere continue to force people to flee their homes. In the aftermath of the financial crisis and 9/11, politicians in the Global North have focused on borders: who crosses them and how. Walls are being erected. Referendums are being held. We are consumed with thorny questions about who gets to join our political communities. Today there are over 65 million refugees, displaced persons, and stateless persons in the world, represented at last summer’s Olympics by their own team for first the time, a testament to their increasing visibility on the world stage. Global forced displacement recently hit a historical high. And while numbers are increasing, solutions are still elusive. The modern refugee regime, the collection of laws and institutions designed to address the problems faced by refugees, has developed slowly over the course of the last 100 years, first in response to specific crises. That regime has been shaped by a changing geopolitical landscape. At the end of the Cold War, institutions in the field expanded their mandates and preferred solutions to the “problem” of refugees changed. And yet today many scholars and policy makers argue the regime is not fit for purpose. They point to the European refugee crisis as the latest case in point. Why? What went wrong and where? Can it be fixed? This course will largely focus on the issues of forced migration, displacement and refugees related to conflict, although this subject is inevitably intertwined with larger debates about citizenship and humanitarianism. Taking an interdisciplinary perspective, this course will address both scholarly and policy debates. Utilizing human rights scholarship, it will draw on work in history that charts the evolution of institutions; legal scholarship that outlines international and domestic laws; work in political science that seeks to understand responses in a comparative perspective, and anthropological studies that address how refugees understand these institutions and their experiences of exile and belonging. These topics are not only the purview of those in the academy, however. Investigative journalists have most recently provided trenchant coverage of the world’s refugees, especially the current European crisis, where many have reported from the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Policy makers scramble to keep up with a crisis literally in motion. We will read their communiqués as well. While we will only begin to skim the surface of these issues, in this course you should expect to gain the following expertise: 1) Knowledge of the modern refugee regime and its origins 2) An analysis of actors and institutions who are tasked with responding to refugee crises and how their roles have changed 3) An understanding of a few critical historical case studies, both in the United States and abroad 4) Critical analysis of the current refugee crisis in Europe and the Middle East 5) Knowledge of the asylum process in the US and in comparative perspective 6) An understanding of the debates about conducting research with vulnerable populations such as refugees and displaced persons 

Fall 2019: HRTS GU4230
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4230 001/56984 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Lara Nettelfield 3 7/22

HRTS GU4270  Social Media and Human Rights: Actors, Advocacy and Analytics. 3 points.


This course examines how changes in information and communications technology have, over the past two decades, fundamentally transformed the practices of civil society actors engaged with human rights issues. New communications tools such as Twitter, blogs, and Facebook have changed the ways that organizations communicate with their followers and seek to influence public debate. The increasing accessibility of analytic tools for researching and visualizing changing patterns of human rights abuse has empowered groups to better understand and respond more forcefully to these issues. Indeed, the use of social media as a communications tool has made it a data source for those monitoring and analyzing patterns of activity, in ways that draw increasingly on the techniques of big data analysis.

Spring 2019: HRTS GU4270
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4270 001/14737 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
616 Hamilton Hall
Ted Perlmutter 3 17/22

HRTS GU4300 Economic and Social Rights in Policy and Practice. 3 points.

This course will address economic and social human rights through the lens of what is happening now in the early 21st century, in light of the enormous shifts that have taken place since the modern human rights movement first emerged in the aftermath of WWII. The course will address many of the central debates about economic and social rights and then examine how those debates apply to specific rights and topics including development, health, housing, work, food and education. Throughout, the course will examine how activists and policymakers have responded to all these changes, and ask what might lie ahead for the human rights movement in addressing economic and social rights in a multilateral, globalized world.

HRTS GU4340 Human Rights Accountability & Remedies. 3 points.

Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.

Effective remedies for violations of human rights is a core tenet of human rights law. Yet in practice, victims are rarely able to rely on formal accountability mechanisms to deliver remedies. This course examines how advocates combine political, legal and reputational accountability strategies to hold violators accountable where formal enforcement mechanisms are unavailable. The course will look beyond the international criminal legal system, and instead draw on case studies from contexts where the accountability gap is particularly stark: transnational actors who lack direct accountability relationships with rights-holders, including in international development, peacekeeping and corporate activities.

By delving into practical and tactical considerations, students will build an understanding of how various strategies work together to build a successful campaign for accountability that results in remedies for victims.  Students will engage in simulated exercises in media advocacy, political lobbying, engaging with the UN human rights system, and public campaigning.  Students will learn how to build empowering narratives that shape public opinion, center victims in their work, and nurture transnational partnerships to overcome power differentials.  Through discussions grounded in both theory and practice, students will also critically interrogate the practice of human rights advocacy.

Spring 2019: HRTS GU4340
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4340 001/28197 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
201 80 Claremont
Beatrice Lindstrom 3 6/22

HRTS GU4400 Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Human Rights. 3 points.


Debates over the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have never been more visible in the international arena. Advocates are beginning to have some success in putting sexual orientation and gender identity on the agenda for inclusion in human rights instruments. But in many local and regional contexts, state-sanctioned homophobia is on the rise, from the official anti-gay stance of Russia featured during the Sochi Winter Games to the passage of Mississippi’s anti-gay bill and Uganda’s anti-homosexuality act. This course examines these trends in relation to strategies pursued by grassroots activists and NGOs and the legal issues they raise, including marriage and family rights, discrimination, violence, torture, sex classification, and asylum. We will also focus on current debates about the relation between sexual rights and gender justice, tensions between universalisty constructions of gay/trans identity and local formations of sexual and gender non-conformity, and legacies of colonialism.

Fall 2019: HRTS GU4400
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4400 001/57009 Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Room TBA
Paisley Currah 3 5/22


Socio-economic rights have emerged from the margins into the mainstream of human rights. We will explore conceptual issues through the lens of specific rights which will help us ground these principles and ideas in concrete cases. We will discuss developments on socio-economic rights and examine their relevance in the United States as well as selected other countries, particularly those with progressive legislation, policies and jurisprudence. 

Spring 2019: HRTS GU4500
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4500 001/73529 T 8:10pm - 10:00pm
315 Hamilton Hall
Inga Winkler 3 7/22
Fall 2019: HRTS GU4500
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4500 001/10461 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Inga Winkler 3 4/22

HRTS GU4600 Human Rights in the Anthropocene. 3 points.

In August 2016, a working group of the International Geological Congress voted to acknowledge a new geological epoch, following 11,700 years of the Holocene, and that it would be called The Anthropocene. The announcement indicated a new era in the earth’s chronology marked by the consequences of human activity on the planet’s ecosystems. Closely related to discussions of sustainability, investigations into the Anthropocene tend to focus on environmental and ecological issues while ignoring its social justice dimensions. This course will investigate how Human Rights has and will be impacted by the Anthropocene, with special attention paid to the human dimensions and consequences of anthropogenic change. Do new and troubling revelations about anthropogenic mistreatment of the earth and its resources modify or amplify the kinds of responsibilities that govern activity between individuals and communities? How do we scale the human response from the urban, to the periurban, to the rural? How must the study of Human Rights evolve to address violence and mistreatment associated not just among humans but also amid human habitats? What sorts of juridical changes must occur to recognize and respond to new manifestations of social injustice that relate directly to consequences of anthropogenic changes to the Earth system? Topics will include discussions of the Environmental Justice movement, agribusiness, access to (and allocation of) natural resources, population growth; its global impact, advocacy for stronger and more accountability through environmental legal change, biodiversity in urban environments, and the growing category of environmental refugees.

Spring 2019: HRTS GU4600
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4600 001/21682 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
1102 International Affairs Bldg
Noah Chasin 3 13/22

HRTS GU4650 Children's Rights Advocacy. 3 points.

This course is designed to introduce contemporary children’s rights issues and help students develop practical advocacy skills to protect and promote the rights of children. Students will explore case studies of advocacy campaigns addressing issues including juvenile justice, child labor, child marriage, the use of child soldiers, corporal punishment, migration and child refugees, female genital mutilation, and LBGT issues affecting children. Over the course of the semester, students will become familiar with international children’s rights standards, as well as a variety of advocacy strategies and avenues, including use of the media, litigation, and advocacy with UN, legislative bodies, and the private sector. Written assignments will focus on practical advocacy tools, including advocacy letters, op-eds, submissions to UN mechanisms or treaty bodies, and the development of an overarching advocacy strategy, including the identification of goals and objectives, and appropriate advocacy targets and tactics.

Fall 2019: HRTS GU4650
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4650 001/56980 F 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Michael Bochenek, Jo Becker 3 5/22

HRTS GU4700 Ethical Dilemmas in Healthcare: A Human Rights Approach. 3 points.

This course examines major ethical dilemmas that emerge in the convergence between human rights and public health at the national and international levels. Using specific case studies, Attention will be given to the rationales, meaning and implementation of the right to health across borders; the theories and practices of allocation of scare resources; the challenges of providing care for minority groups—including sexual minorities, children, and persons with disabilities; and the ethical, legal, and social implications of international health governance. This is an interactive course, with interdisciplinary scholarship and exploration of issues in historical, cultural and political contexts. 

HRTS GU4810 Religion and Human Rights. 3 points.

Priority given to human rights studies M.A. students. Open to 3rd and 4th year undergraduates on first day of term with the instructor's permission.

The resurgence of religion over the past three decades has had a transformative influence globally and within nations. Religious nationalism, fundamentalism, and communalism have arisen to forcefully compete with secular democracy. With the fall of the Soviet bloc and the bilateralism of the Cold War, ethnic particularism, often of a religious character, has emerged as the locus of identity for people on all continents. These rapid changes engendered by a new, often commanding, role for religion challenge the very concept of individual and universal human rights. They raise difficult theoretical and painfully practical questions as to the preservation of individual human rights, and the relationship of democracy to religion. At the same time, recent currents such as economic globalization, the triumph of the free market, and the communications revolution promote individual autonomy, a cornerstone of human rights. There can be no doubt that religion will occupy an increasingly salient role in the social and political life of nations during the course of the 21st century. The relevance of religion to human rights in our time cannot be undervalued. The course examines the relationship of religion to human rights from several standpoints, including religion's role in abetting intolerance, religious minorities as victims of human rights violations, and religion as a framer of human rights ideals which inspire action.

Spring 2019: HRTS GU4810
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4810 001/63339 Th 6:10pm - 8:00pm
402 Hamilton Hall
Joseph Chuman 3 9/22

HRTS GU4880 Human Rights in the United States. 3 points.

The United States sees itself as a country founded on the norms of equality under the law and inalienable rights but the modern reality is quite different. Police brutality in Ferguson, Executive Orders banning Muslims, protests at the Dakota Pipeline, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, high levels of domestic violence, wage stagnation, and the lack of a right to health care, all point to a human rights crisis at home. Some scholars have even argued that, for the majority of its citizens, the United States has the standards of a “third world” country.

In which areas are the most violations of human rights occurring and why? How have long term trends, including historical legacies, contributed to the current state of affairs? This survey course will provide an overview of contemporary human rights issues in the United States and will analyze them through the theoretical lenses of scholarship in the fields of comparative politics (including social movements) and law and society. It will outline the different actors in the human rights landscape, and focus on the various forms and strategies of mobilization around human rights issues with an eye to what has helped increase the enjoyment of rights.

Spring 2019: HRTS GU4880
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4880 001/75307 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
327 Seeley W. Mudd Building
Lara Nettelfield 3 14/22


The course is part of the program's offerings in experiential learning. Students will engage in an applied research project with an NGO partner focused on the role of UN Special Rapporteurs and the strategies they employ. Students will become familiar with the intricacies of the UN human rights system, while also taking a bird's-eye view on the system, its challenges and the need for reform, The course seeks to combine critical reflection with practical application, including through the perspectives of practitioners and guest speakers who discuss their strategies for advocacy.

HRTS GU4915 Human Rights and Urban Public Space. 3 points.

Priority for 3rd & 4th yr CC/GS HUMR studs & to HRSMA studs

The course will explore the often-contested terrain of urban contexts, looking at cities fron architectural, sociological, historical, and political positions. What do rights have to do with the city? Can the ancient idea of a "right to the city" tell us something fundamental about both rights and cities? Our notion of citizenship is based in the understanding of a city as a community, and yet today why do millions of people live in cities without citizenship? The course will be organized thematically in order to discuss such issues as the consequences of cities' developments in relation to their peripheries beginning with the normative idea of urban boundaries deriving from fortifying walls, debates around the public sphere, nomadic architecture and urbanism, informal settlements such as slums and shantytowns, surveillance and control in urban centers, refugees and the places they live, catastrophes natural and man-made and reconstruction, and sovereign areas within cities the United Nations, War Crimes Tribunals. At the heart of our inquiry will be an investigation of the ways in which rights within urban contexts are either granted or withheld.

Fall 2019: HRTS GU4915
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4915 001/56981 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Noah Chasin 3 11/22

HRTS GU4930 International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights. 4 points.

This seminar will cover various issues, debates, and concepts in the international law of armed conflict (known as international humanitarian law), particularly as it relates to the protection of non-combatants (civilians and prisoners of war). In doing so, we will examine how international humanitarian law and human rights law intersect. Both sets of legal norms are designed to protect the lives, well-being, and dignity of individuals.However, the condition of armed conflict provides a much wider set of options for governments and individuals to engage in violent, deadly action against others, including killing, forcibly detaining, and destroying the property of those designated as combatants. At the same time, the means of waging war are not unlimited, but rather are tightly regulated by both treaty and customary law. This course will examine how these regulations operate in theory and practice, focusing on the principles of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity.

Spring 2019: HRTS GU4930
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4930 001/66488 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
602 Lewisohn Hall
Bruce Cronin 4 17/22

HRTS GU4950 Human Rights and Human Wrongs. 3 points.


Prerequisites: the instructor's permission. Please e-mail the instructor at

This course will examine the tension between two contradictory trends in world politics. On the one hand, we have emerged from a century that has seen some of the most brutal practices ever perpetrated by states against their populations in the form of genocide, systematic torture, mass murder and ethnic cleansing. Many of these abuses occurred after the Holocaust, even though the mantra "never again" was viewed by many as a pledge never to allow a repeat of these practices. Events in the new century suggest that these trends will not end anytime soon. At the same time, since the middle of the twentieth century, for the first time in human history there has been a growing global consensus that all individuals are entitled to at least some level of protection from abuse by their governments. This concept of human rights has been institutionalized through international law, diplomacy, international discourse, transnational activism, and the foreign policies of many states. Over the past two decades, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, and international tribunals have gone further than any institutions in human history to try to stem state abuses. This seminar will try to make sense of these contradictions.

Fall 2019: HRTS GU4950
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
HRTS 4950 001/56986 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Bruce Cronin 3 4/22

HRTS GU4955 Narrative and Representation in Post-Conflict Societites. 3 points.

This course explores the relationship between narrative and the legacy of violence and atrocity in post-conflict societies, focusing particularly on the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia (and more briefly Indonesia and Armenia). Examining a range of medium – including, but not limited, to eye-witness accounts, memoirs, history books, government reports, film, theater, memorials - we will consider how different narratives address issues of history and memory, justice and judgment. We will also discuss how narrative influences efforts to achieve reconciliation and come to terms with the past on both personal and societal levels. Does revisiting the past allow people who either suffered or inflicted terrible violence – or both – once again live together? Are there particular modes or genres of narrative that are particularly successful in terms of enabling societies to reflect on their past and respond adequately? Can justice and accountability ever be achieved?These are some of the questions we will consider as we examine the ways in which atrocities are written about, remembered, judged and interpreted.

 Related Courses

ECON BC2010 The Economics of Gender. 3 points.

Examination of gender differences in the U.S. and other advanced industrial economies. Topics include the division of labor between home and market, the relationship between labor force participation and family structure, the gender earnings gap, occupational segregation, discrimination, and historical, racial, and ethnic group comparisons.

ECON BC2075 Logic and Limits of Economic Justice. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values.

Prerequisites: Introduction to Economic Reasoning (ECON BC 1003) or Principles of Economics (ECON W1105). An introductory course in political theory or political philosophy is strongly recommended, but not required.

Introduce students to problems of economic justice under capitalism.  Course has three goals: (1) expose students to debates between economics and philosophers about the meaning and nature of justice, (2) explore conflict between efficiency and justice, (3) examine implications of justice for gender equality, intergenerational equity and climate change.

ECON BC3011 Inequality and Poverty. 3 points.

Prerequisites: ECON BC3035 or ECON BC3033, or permission of the instructor.

Conceptualization and measurement of inequality and poverty, poverty traps and distributional dynamics, economics and politics of public policies, in both poor and rich countries.

Fall 2019: ECON BC3011
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
ECON 3011 001/07801 T 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Ashley Timmer 3 56/60

ECON BC3029 Empirical Development Economics. 3 points.

Prerequisites: (ECON BC3035 or ECON BC3033) and ECON UN3412 ECON BC3035 or ECON BC3033 and Econometrics, or permission of the instructor.

Examination of new challenges in the global economy from unequal income distribution and poor institutions to health epidemics and natural disasters. Accessing and analyzing real-time and historic data to understand the current global economy.  Applied econometric techniques.

ECON BC3039 Environmental and Natural Resource Economics. 3 points.

Prerequisites: ECON BC1003 or ECON W1105. Prerequisite for Economics majors: ECON BC3035.

Link between economic behavior and environmental quality: valuation of non-market benefits of pollution abatement; emissions standards; taxes; and transferable discharge permits. Specific problems of hazardous waste; the distribution of hazardous pollutants across different sub-groups of the U.S. population; the exploitation of commonly owned natural resources; and the links between the environment, income distribution, and economic development.

ECON BC3049 Economic Evaluation of Social Programs. 3 points.

Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.

Prerequisites: ECON BC3035 Intermediate Micro Theory and ECON BC2411 Statistics for Economics, or the equivalents

A study of the effectiveness of social programs and the different quantitative techniques economists use to evaluate policy interventions. Cost-benefit analysis, testing predictions of economic theories. Specific examples of successful and unsuccessful social programs in the U.S. and around the world.

POLS UN3100 Justice. 3 points.

An inquiry into the nature and implications of justice in areas ranging from criminal justice to social justice to the circumstances of war and peace, considering issues such as abortion, the criminalization of behavior, the death penalty, climate change, global poverty, civil disobedience, and international conflict.

Spring 2019: POLS UN3100
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3100 001/29520 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
310 Fayerweather
David Johnston 3 71/96

POLS BC3102 * Colloquium on Race and Modern Political Thought. 4 points.

Admission by application through the Barnard department only. Enrollment limited to 16 students.

Prerequisites: POLS 1013 or the equivalent.

Race and Modern Political Thought is a Political Theory colloquium that explores how the concept of race became available to modern thought as a legitimate conceptualization of human being and difference and to political thought as an idea useful to structuring political communities.  Is race best understood in ideological terms, i.e., as a viewpoint shared by philosophers and lay-persons alike about difference that usefully reflected the needs and aspirations of slaveholders and colonialists?  Or is race instead an artifact of modern forms of reasoning?  Or should we ignore questions of origin and simply take seriously the notion that the only practical—ethically correct or politically progressive—approach to theorizing race is to attend critically to the organization of racial power?   What kind of idea is race?

Fall 2019: POLS BC3102
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3102 001/09156 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Michelle Smith 4 15/16

SOCI UN3217 Law and Society. 3 points.

Examines how people use law, how law affects people, and how law develops, using social scientific research.  Covers law in everyday life; legal and social change; legal subjects such as citizens and corporations, and the legitimacy of law.  Recommended for pre-law and social-science majors.  No required prerequisites or previous knowledge.

SOCI UN3235 Social Movements. 3 points.

Prerequisites: One introductory course in Sociology suggested.

Social movements and the theories social scientists use to explain them, with emphasis on the American civil rights and women's movements.  Topics include theories of participation, the personal and social consequences of social movements, the rationality of protest, the influence of ideology, organization, and the state on movement success, social movements, and the mass media.

Fall 2019: SOCI UN3235
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3235 001/09586 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Debra Minkoff 3 41/45

POLS W3245 Race and Ethnicity In American Politics. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC II).
Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.

The course focuses on the historical and contemporary roles of various racial and ethnic groups; and the initiation, demands, leadership and organizational styles, orientation, benefits, and impact on the structures and outputs of governance in the United States.

POLS BC3307 *Colloquium on Racial Violence. 4 points.

Prerequisites: POLS 1201 Intro to American Politics or an equivalent American Politics course. Admission by application through the Barnard department only. Enrollment limited to 16 students.

This colloquium examines two particular episodes of racial violence, each of which situates the political differently: lynchings and prisons. The goal is to not only explore how to bring the state back in but also examine the differences, similarities and points of intersections across disciplines.

POLS UN3401 Democracy and Dictatorship in Europe. 3 points.

This course will examine the development of democracies and dictatorships in Europe from the French Revolution to the present day. It will analyze the nature and dynamics of European political history and use the European experience as a foundation upon which to build a broader understanding of how different types of political regimes emerge, function and are sustained over time. Prior knowledge of European history and comparative politics is welcome, but not presumed.

Fall 2019: POLS UN3401
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3401 001/09159 M W 11:40am - 12:55pm
Room TBA
Sheri Berman 3 62/70

POLS BC3402 The Comparative Politics of Gender Inequality. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I).

Prerequisites: Not an introductory-level course. Not open to students who have taken the colloquium POLS BC 3507. Enrollment limited to 20 students; L-course sign-up through eBear. Barnard syllabus.

Uses major analytical perspectives in comparative politics to understand the persistence of gender inequality in advanced industrial states. Topics include: political representation and participation; political economy and capitalism; the historical development of welfare states; electoral systems, electoral quotas; the role of supranational and international organizations; and social policy.

POLS BC3411 *Colloquium on Building Peace. 4 points.

Prerequisites: POLS 1601 (Intro to International Politics) or equivalent. Admission by application through the Barnard department only. Enrollment limited to 16 students.

How can we build peace in the aftermath of extensive violence? How can international actors help in this process? This colloquium focuses on international peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding efforts in recent conflicts. It covers general concepts, theories, and debates, as well as specific cases of peacebuilding successes and failures. Cross-listed with Human Rights.

Spring 2019: POLS BC3411
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3411 001/01258 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
111 Milstein Center
Severine Autesserre 4 15/16
Fall 2019: POLS BC3411
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3411 001/09168 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Severine Autesserre 4 14/16

POLS BC3435 Law and Violence. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Admission by application through the Barnard Political Science Department only. Enrollment limited to 16 students. Requires POLS 1011 (Political Theory) or equivalent.

This colloquium examines how the law can participate in the justification of various forms of violence, exclusion, and inequality. It focuses on the power of law to determine which subjects get recognized as persons entitled to rights. Possible topics include slavery, migration, gender, sexual orientation, disability, homelessness, and nonhuman animals. 

ANTH UN3465 Women and Gender Politics in the Muslim World. 3 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Practices like veiling that are central to Western images of women and Islam are also contested issues throughout the Muslim world. Examines debates about Islam and gender and explores the interplay of cultural, political, and economic factors in shaping women's lives in the Muslim world, from the Middle East to Southeast Asia.

POLS UN3528 New and Old Forms of Political Protest. 3 points.

This course will introduce the students to the important topic of political protest. Each week we will address different aspects of the phenomenon: from the determinant to the actors and strategies of protest. We will discuss how the forms of protest have changed and the current role of the internet in general and social media in particular. Finally, we will discuss the role of the state and state repression, in particular censorship in the dynamics of protest. Since this is a comparative politics course, we will cover a range of different countries, including the United States, as well as both democratic and authoritarian regimes.

AFRS BC3589 Black Feminism(s)/Womanism(s). 4 points.

Black Feminism(s)/Womanism(s)

Spring 2019: AFRS BC3589
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AFRS 3589 001/00343 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
405 Barnard Hall
Celia Naylor 4 18/18

POLS UN3604 War, Peace, and International Interventions in Africa. 4 points.

Prerequisites: At least sophomore standing, except in consultation with the instructor. Interested students should join the wait list; attendance at the first class is required in order to secure a spot in the class. Registration to discussion section is mandatory.

This course analyzes the causes of violence in wars and examines the debates around emergency aid, peacekeeping and peacebuilding. In addition, it focuses on recent conflict situations in Africa -- especially Congo, Sudan, and Rwanda -- as a background against which to understand the distinct dynamics of violence, peace, and international interventions in civil and international conflicts.

POLS V3615 Globalization and International Politics. 3 points.

Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.

Explores how globalization affects the structures and functions of the international economy, state sovereignty, international security, and international civil society. Emphasis on problems of international governance, legitimacy and accountability, and the evolving organizational processes that characterize contemporary international politics.

POLS UN3619 Nationalism and Contemporary World Politics. 3 points.

The causes and consequences of nationalism. Nationalism as a cause of conflict in contemporary world politics. Strategies for mitigating nationalist and ethnic conflict.

Spring 2019: POLS UN3619
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3619 001/12559 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
313 Fayerweather
Jack Snyder 3 45/74

POLS UN3623 Ending War & Building Peace. 3 points.

This course provides an introduction to the politics of war termination and peace consolidation. The course examines the challenges posed by ending wars and the process by which parties to a conflict arrive at victory, ceasefires, and peace negotiations. It explores how peace is sustained, why peace lasts in some cases and breaks down in others and what can be done to make peace more stable, focusing on the role of international interventions, power-sharing arrangements, reconciliation between adversaries, and reconstruction.

PHIL V3710 Law, Liberty and Morality. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values.
Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 40 students.

Examination of classic philosophical theories about the rule of law, relations between law and morality, legal reasoning, and their implications for selected contemporty legal problems.

PHIL UN3752 Philosophy of Law. 3 points.

This course explores philosophical reflection on the relationship between law, society and morality. We discuss the nature of law, the nature of legal reasoning, the relationship between law and social policy, and central concepts in civil and criminal law. Readings are drawn from such sources as the natural law tradition, legal positivism, legal realism, and Critical Legal Theory. Readings will be supplemented by analysis of classic cases.

POLS BC3810 *Colloquium on Aid, Politics & Violence in Africa. 4 points.

Prerequisites: POLS UN1601 or the equivalent. Admission by application through the Barnard department only.

Explores the concepts, theoretical traditions and debates around development and humanitarian aid, focusing on the relationships between aid, politics, and violence. It looks at the political and military impacts of aid, the linkage between humanitarian aid and conflict resolution, and aid's contribution to perpetuating subtle forms of domination. (Cross-listed by the Africana Studies and the Human Rights Programs.)

Fall 2019: POLS BC3810
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3810 001/09158 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Severine Autesserre 4 13/16

SOCI BC3909 Ethnic Conflict and Unrest. 4 points.

Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.

Prerequisites: Sophomore Standing. SOCI BC1003 or permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 20 students.

Post-1965 immigration in the U.S. has prompted conflicts between new immigrant groups and established racial and ethnic groups. This seminar explores ethnic conflict and unrest that takes place in the streets, workplace, and everyday social life. Focus is on sociological theories that explain the tensions associated with the arrival of new immigrants.

POLS UN3911 Seminar in Political Theory. 4 points.

Priority given to senior majors, followed by junior majors, then all other students.

Seminar in Political Theory. Students who would like to register should join the electronic wait list. For list of topics and descriptions see:

Fall 2019: POLS UN3911
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3911 001/47185 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Jean Cohen 4 11/22
POLS 3911 002/47186 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
David Johnston 4 0/22
POLS 3911 003/16437 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Jon Elster 4 0/22

POLS UN3912 Seminar in Political Theory. 4 points.

Priority given to senior majors, followed by junior majors, then all other students.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission. Pre-registration is not permitted.

Seminar in Political Theory. Students who would like to register should join the electronic wait list.


For list of topics and descriptions see:

Spring 2019: POLS UN3912
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3912 001/72253 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
David Johnston 4 20/21
POLS 3912 002/72397 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Bernard Harcourt 4 29/27

WMST UN3915 Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 15.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval required

Considers formations of gender, sexuality, and power as they circulate transnationally, as well as transnational feminist movements that have emerged to address contemporary gendered inequalities. Topics include political economy, global care chains, sexuality, sex work and trafficking, feminist politics, and human rights.


If it is a small world after all, how do forces of globalization shape and redefine both men’s and women’s positions as as workers and political subjects? And, if power swirls everywhere, how are transnational power dynamics reinscribed in gendered bodies? How is the body represented in discussions of the political economy of globalization? These questions will frame this course by highlighting how gender and power coalesce to impact the lives of individuals in various spaces including workplaces, the home, religious institutions, refugee camps, the government, and civil society, and human rights organizations. We will use specific sociological and anthropological case studies, to look at how various regimes of power operate to constrain individuals as well as give them new spaces for agency.This course will enable us to think transnationally, historically, and dynamically, using gender as a lens through which to critique relations of power and the ways that power informs our everyday lives and identities. 

Spring 2019: WMST UN3915
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3915 001/77347 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Selina Makana 4 1/20
Fall 2019: WMST UN3915
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3915 001/63378 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Selina Makana 4 27/25

SOCI BC3918 Gender and Inequality in Families. 4 points.

Critical exploration of contemporary US families. Analyzes the ways gendered forces structure relations between and among family members. Investigates changes over time in roles and expectation for family members. Topics include social class differences, LGBT families, transnational families, parent-child relationships, domestic violence, racial/ethnic variation in men’s experiences.

POLS UN3921 Seminar in American Politics. 4 points.

Priority given to senior majors, followed by junior majors, then all other students.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission. Pre-registration is not permitted.

Seminar in American Politics Seminar.Students who would like to register should join the electronic wait list. For list of topics and descriptions see:

Fall 2019: POLS UN3921
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3921 001/99787 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Martha Zebrowski 4 0/22
POLS 3921 002/99786 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Brigitte Nacos 4 0/22
POLS 3921 003/99785 Th 4:10pm - 6:40pm
317 Hamilton Hall
Robert Amdur 4 0/22
POLS 3921 004/13422 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Judith Russell 4 8/22
POLS 3921 005/47188 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Carlos Vargas-Ramos 4 0/22
POLS 3921 007/13255 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Lincoln Mitchell 4 12/22
POLS 3921 008/14018 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
John Sivolella 4 7/22
POLS 3921 009/14878 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Yamil Velez 4 1/22

CSER UN3928 Colonization/Decolonization. 4 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement
Enrollment limited to 22.

Prerequisites: Open to CSER majors/concentrators only. Others may be allowed to register with the instructor's permission.

This course explores the centrality of colonialism in the making of the modern world, emphasizing cross-cultural and social contact, exchange, and relations of power; dynamics of conquest and resistance; and discourses of civilization, empire, freedom, nationalism, and human rights, from 1500 to 2000. Topics include pre-modern empires; European exploration, contact, and conquest in the new world; Atlantic-world slavery and emancipation; and European and Japanese colonialism in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The course ends with a section on decolonization and post-colonialism in the period after World War II. Intensive reading and discussion of primary documents.

Spring 2019: CSER UN3928
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3928 001/18445 Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
420 Hamilton Hall
Theodore Hughes 4 16/22
Fall 2019: CSER UN3928
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3928 001/57875 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Karl Jacoby 4 9/22

CSER UN3940 Comparative Study of Constitutional Challenges Affecting African, Latino, and Asian American Communities. 4 points.

This course will examine how the American legal system decided constitutional challenges affecting the empowerment of African, Latino, and Asian American communities from the 19th century to the present. Focus will be on the role that race, citizenship, capitalism/labor, property, and ownership played in the court decision in the context of the historical, social, and political conditions existing at the time. Topics include the denial of citizenship and naturalization to slaves and immigrants, government sanctioned segregation, the struggle for reparations for descendants of slavery, and Japanese Americans during World War II.

Spring 2019: CSER UN3940
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
CSER 3940 001/18285 Th 10:10am - 12:00pm
201a Philosophy Hall
Elizabeth OuYang 4 20/22

SOCI UN3960 Law, Science, and Society. 4 points.

This course addresses basic contemporary social issues from several angles of vision: from the perspective of scientists, social scientists, legal scholars, and judges. Through the use of case studies, students will examine the nature of theories, evidence, "facts," proof, and argument as found in the work of scientists and scholars who have engaged the substantive issues presented in the course.

Spring 2019: SOCI UN3960
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
SOCI 3960 001/74617 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
807 Green Hall Law Building
Jonathan Cole 4 24/22

POLS UN3961 International Politics Seminar. 4 points.

Priority given to senior majors, followed by junior majors, then all other students.

Prerequisites: POLS UN1601 or the equivalent, and the instructor's permission.

Seminar in International Politics. Students who would like to register should join the electronic wait list. 


For list of topics and descriptions see:

Fall 2019: POLS UN3961
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3961 001/99834 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
1302 International Affairs Bldg
Robert Jervis 4 1/22
POLS 3961 002/29210 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Rebecca Murphy 4 0/22
POLS 3961 003/47182 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Michael Doyle 4 14/15
POLS 3961 004/47183 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
David Spiro 4 0/22
POLS 3961 005/14012 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Linda Kirschke 4 14/22
POLS 3961 006/14872 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Room TBA
Jean Krasno 4 4/22

POLS UN3962 Seminar in International Politics. 4 points.

Priority given to senior majors, followed by junior majors, then all other students.

Prerequisites: POLS UN1601 or the equivalent, and the instructor's permission.

Seminar in International Relations. Students who would like to register should join the electronic wait list.


For list of topics and descriptions see:

Spring 2019: POLS UN3962
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 3962 001/62257 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Brooke Greene 4 22/18
POLS 3962 002/26233 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
1302 International Affairs Bldg
Allison Carnegie 4 16/18
POLS 3962 003/65332 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
1102 International Affairs Bldg
Shahrough Akhavi 4 7/18
POLS 3962 005/67871 T 12:10pm - 2:00pm
401 Hamilton Hall
Dawn Brancati 4 13/18
POLS 3962 006/76948 M 2:10pm - 4:00pm
711 International Affairs Bldg
Renanah Miles 4 14/18
POLS 3962 007/26299 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
109 Hartley Hall
Linda Kirschke 4 6/18
POLS 3962 008/20522 M 10:10am - 12:00pm
802 International Affairs Bldg
Jeremiah Pam 4 12/18

HIST W4125 Censorship and Freedom of Expression in Early Modern Europe. 0 points.


In this course we will examine theoretical and historical developments that framed the notions of censorship and free expression in early modern Europe. In the last two decades, the role of censorship has become one of the significant elements in discussions of early modern culture. The history of printing and of the book, of the rise national-political cultures and their projections of control, religious wars and denominational schisms are some of the factors that intensified debate over the free circulation of ideas and speech. Indexes, Inquisition, Star Chamber, book burnings and beheadings have been the subjects of an ever growing body of scholarship. Field(s): EME

WMST W4307 Sexuality and the Law. 4 points.

Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.

Prerequisites: Because this seminar emphasizes weekly discussion and examination of the readings, enrollment is strictly limited to 20 students. Please read and follow the updated instructions: 1) Interested students must write a 50-100 word essay answering the following question: "What background, experience or expertise do you bring to the discussion of Sexuality and the Law that will help inform and challenge the other 19 students in the class?"; 2) Include the following: your name, institution you are graduating from, year of graduation, declared major, and whether you are working towards a Women's Studies major or minor; 3) Send your information and essay through email with the subject line "Barnard Sexuality & the Law"; 4) Send your email to Riya Ortiz, WS Department Assistant, at no later than Wednesday, September 1, 2010. The final list of students who are registered for the course will be announced on Friday, September 3, 12 pm. Classes start on Monday, September 13. (Note: Students who have registered for the course must also submit the essay to guarantee their registration).

Explores how sexuality is defined and contested in various domains of law (Constitutional, Federal, State), how scientific theories intersect with legal discourse, and takes up considerations of these issues in family law, the military, questions of speech, citizenship rights, and at the workplace.

POLS GU4409 Political Activism and Social Movements. 3 points.

How do ordinary citizens participate in democratic politics? The course examines main concepts in the comparative study of political participation and social and political movements to address this question. The first part of the course focuses on normative and methodological aspects related to the study of political activism. In this part, we examine the role that citizens’ political activism plays in democratic politics and look at how these normative views are reflected in the methods used to study political activism (individual and organizational surveys, protest event analysis, participant observation). In the second part of the course, we focus on the individual-level political participation. Here we discuss various modes of political action available to citizens of contemporary democracies and examine micro-, meso-, macro-factors that determine people’s willingness to get involved in politics. The third part of the course focuses on the meso-level of political actors that organize and coordinate people’s political activism – social movements, interest groups and civil society organizations. This part of the course discusses the role of organizational resources, strategic action repertoire, political opportunities and framing and campaigning strategies of mobilizing actors.

Spring 2019: POLS GU4409
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 4409 001/87192 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
414 Pupin Laboratories
Katerina Vrablikova 3 14/35

POLS GU4474 Politics, Justice and Human Rights in Southeast Asia. 4 points.

The course starts from the premise that questions of justice are essentially political, and their study cannot be safely left in the sole hands of lawyers and legal experts. In recent years, a number of important global trends have become evident in the study of justice. These include a growing focus on transitional justice – especially how the transition from an authoritarian regime, or from conditions of violent conflict, may best be handled. Another important trend is the so-called ‘new constitutionalism’ – efforts to strengthen checks and balances through establishing new institutions such as constitutional courts. A third trend concerns disturbing developments in the use of the criminal justice system for essentially political purposes. This course will explore how these recent trends are being played out in various parts of Southeast Asia.

Spring 2019: POLS GU4474
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 4474 001/91346 M 6:10pm - 8:00pm
270b International Affairs Bldg
Duncan McCargo 4 19/20

POLS GU4852 Insurgencies and Civil Wars. 3 points.

Civil wars have become the predominant type of conflict in recent years and decades, as exemplified by the civil wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, or Yemen, among others. Invariably, these civil wars feature insurgencies, i.e., organized, protracted politico-military struggles designed to weaken control and legitimacy of an established government, occupying power, or other political authority, while increasing insurgent control.

The purpose of this course is to examine the causes, nature, and termination of civil wars and the insurgencies that characterize them. Special emphasis is placed on the conduct of civil wars—the nature of insurgency and counterinsurgency (COIN). The course offers different theoretical perspectives and provides historical and contemporary case studies.

Spring 2019: POLS GU4852
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
POLS 4852 001/74499 T Th 10:10am - 11:25am
602 Northwest Corner
Assaf Moghadam 3 27/30