Fall 2020 - IS 309 D200

Special Topics in International Security and Conflict (4)

Intl Human Rights

Class Number: 4999

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



Specific details of courses to be offered will be published prior to enrollment each term.


The adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was followed by a host of international agreements on genocide and torture, women and minorities, refugees and the conduct of warfare, and the treatment of children.  Development, trade and healthcare have likewise become subject to new standards of human-centered conduct, whose significance has grown with economic and cultural globalization.  Individual and collective human rights — with their appeal to solidarity and the rule of law, often against claims of cultural relativism — have ceased to be matters solely of domestic jurisdiction.  

This course will address a range of themes that involve global (and regional) engagement with the protection and promotion of human dignity through legal rights, including the role of non-state actors such as NGOs and corporations.  In particular, we will attend to the gaps between normative regimes and political realities, mindful of the post- 9/11 approaches to "security" and their tension with individual rights.  Multimedia resources will supplement the course texts, both in class and on the course website.  


  • Class Presentation 20%
  • Take-home Midterm 30%
  • Participation 10%
  • Final Paper 40%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.


This course will be delivered via online platforms, such as Zoom, Canvas, Blackboard, etc.

Students are required to have a computer, with a microphone, webcam, and speakers. They also must have good access to the Internet.

Microsoft Office is required, and a free version of Office 365 is available to SFU students here: https://www.sfu.ca/itservices/technical/software/office365.html.

Students will be required to upload assignments to Canvas and through Turnitin.com.



Goodhart, Michael, ed. Human Rights: Politics and Practice. 3rd ed. Oxford, 2016 (pbk). ISBN: 9780198708766. E-book; ISBN 9780191069741.

Additional readings will be posted on Canvas.


Library Reserves:

  • The Human Rights Reader. ed. Micheline Ishay. 2nd ed. Routledge, 2007.
  • Inventing Human Rights: A History. Lynn Hunt. Norton, 2007.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).