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A History of Human Rights in Latin America (HI3K3)


Sin Memoria

Module Convenor: Dr Rosie Doyle ( Office Hours: Tuesdays 2-4pm on Microsoft Teams

In global histories of human rights Latin American nations and Latin Americans often appear as victims rather than possessors of a unique tradition of rights. Research suggests unique tradition of human rights took shape in Latin America from the 1940s at least. Latin American governments and diplomats were central to the processes which established the international human rights system in the 1940s. The ideas about social and economic rights that Latin Americans brought, and continue to bring, to the debating table were the result of a tradition developed through processes of revolution and reform since independence in the early nineteenth century. Some studies trace the tradition of rights in Latin America back to the colonial period and developments in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

As current issues of rights to security, migrant rights and indigenous rights and rights to self- determination and autonomy take centre stage in Latin American political and social life, this 30 CATS final-year Advanced Option module analyses the development of rights in the region in historical perspective. It looks at the relationship between rights, democracy, liberalism, Catholicism and social revolt and analyses the range of civil, political, socio-economic and cultural rights and their interplay with notions of citizenship, race, class and gender. It does so through an exploration of the processes of constitution-making, state-building, revolution and resistance in the nineteenth century and the rise of nationalism and processes of reform and revolution and Latin American states’ involvement in the international human rights system and transnational movements of resistance and rights in the twentieth-century.

Students will analyse the current literature on rights, the historiography of resistance and revolution as well a broad range of primary sources. The module starts with a series of seminars discussing the themes associated with human rights and looking at the way rights have been looked at in the research. It then takes a chronological approach starting with the colonial period but focusing particularly on the history of rights since Independence at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Content Warning: This course contains material about violence and abuse.