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Week 1: Introduction

What do we mean by human rights? What different types of rights exist? What is the difference between rights and human rights? How are they protected? Where should we look for the origins of Human Rights? Is there anything unique about the Latin American tradition of human rights? Can human rights be universal? 


Core Readings: 

Samuel Moyn. Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World. Harvard: Belknap, 2018. (Introduction, Conclusion and raid the index for all mentions of Latin America) 

Steve J. Stern and Scott Straus (eds.) The Human Rights Paradox: Universality and Its Discontents, University of Wisconsin Press, 2014. (Introduction and chapters by Noa Vaisman and Jo-Marie Burt) 

Kathryn Sikkink. "Latin America's Protagonist Role in Human Rights.Sur International Journal on Human Rights 12.22 (2015): 207-19. 


Further Reading: 


Giorgio Agamben, ‘Beyond Human Rights’ in Virno, Paolo Virno and Michael Hardt (eds.), Radical Thought in Italy: A Potential Politics (Minneapolis, 1996)

Paolo G. Carozza. ‘From Conquest to Constitutions: Retrieving a Latin American Tradition of the Idea of Human Rights’, Human Rights Quarterly 25:2 (2003), 281-313. 

Edward L. Cleary. The Struggle for Human Rights in Latin America. Wesport, CT: Praeger 1997.

Edward L. Cleary. Mobilizing for Human Rights in Latin America. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian, 2007.

Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice (Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press, 2003)

Tom Farer (ed.) Beyond Sovereignty: Collectively Defending Sovereignty in the Americas. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.

Mark Goodale. Surrendering to Utopia: An Anthropology of Human Rights. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 2009.

Goodale, M., & Merry, S. (Eds.). (2007). The Practice of Human Rights: Tracking Law between the Global and the Local. Cambridge Studies in Law and Society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lynn Hunt. Inventing Human Rights: A History. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2007. 

Thomas Haskell, ‘Capitalism and the Origins of Humanitarian Sentiment’, American Historical Review 90: 2 and 3 (parts 1 and 2)

Michael Ignatieff, Human Rights as Politics and Idolatry. Princeton: 2003.

Samuel Moyn, "Substance, Scale, and Salience: The Recent Historiography of Human Rights", Annual Review of Law and Social Science, 2012 8:1, 123-140. 

Samuel Moyn. The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History. Belknap Press, 2012.


Background Reading:  

Blanchard, Peter and Peter Landstreet. Human Rights in Latin America and the Caribbean. Canadian Scholar’s Press, 1989.

Cardenas, Sonia. Human Rights in Latin America. A Politics of Terror and Hope. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012. (Introduction)


Primary Sources:

Declaration of the Rights of Man, National Assembly of France, August 26, 1789 

US Bill of Rights, 1789 

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations General Assembly, Paris 10 December, 1948. 

Inter-American Juridical Committee: Draft Declaration of the International Rights and Duties of Man and Accompanying Report; The American Journal of International Law Vol. 40, No. 3, Supplement: Official Documents (Jul., 1946), pp. 93-116