Human Rights & Culture
This course offers an overview of the human rights system, looking at its basic elements and studying how it works. It focuses on the relationships between human rights and culture and between global ideas and practices and local ones. Human rights campaigns frequently encounter resistance in the name of protecting cultural differences. This is particularly common with issues concerning women, children, and the family. The course explores several issues that raise questions of human rights and culture, such as female genital cutting, trafficking of persons, food justice, and indigenous peoples' rights to culture. Using these examples, the course considers how the human rights system deals with tensions between global standards and local ways of life. It examines the meanings of rights and of culture in these debates and shows the implications of adopting an anthropological analysis of these situations. The goal of the course is developing an understanding of human rights in practice.