Since the end of World War II human rights have emerged as the dominant frame for thinking about social justice. The relationship between universal human rights and respect for cultural diversity has spurred much debate, not the least within anthropology. This course provides an introduction to the study of human rights and culture. In addition to a general introduction to human rights theory and practice, the course provides an overview of anthropology’s engagement with human rights. We will critically explore key human rights concepts and study texts that reflect the dominant theoretical discussions within the field, such as e.g. the relationship between universalism and relativism, individual vs. communal rights, and the origins of human rights. We will also scrutinize challenges related to the implementation of globally formulated human rights ideas into culturally diverse localities.
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences