Fall 2022 - IS 309 D100

Special Topics in International Security and Conflict (4)

Human Rights

Class Number: 5123

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 7 – Dec 6, 2022: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 13, 2022
    Tue, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



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


We live in an age of human rights. The global triumph of human rights has signalled, for some, the advancement or even completion of the Enlightenment promise of human emancipation through reason. Yet, amidst poetic declarations and the formation of a vast global legal and institutional apparatus, human life nonetheless finds itself brutally subjected to power, inequality, and expulsion on a mass scale. As Jacques Derrida has pointed out, never before have so many human beings been subjugated, dominated, or starved on earth. The rapid growth of urban slums throughout the world and the intensification of processes of economic inequality under neoliberal capitalism, as well as the emergence of new conflicts and growing populations of stateless and displaced persons, seem to indicate that our age is one of human crisis rather than triumph. In this way, the historical ascendancy of human rights has proved to be a paradoxical process.

This course interrogates the paradox of what human rights mean and can mean in a world plagued by violence, inequality, exclusion, and domination. Our approach integrates research from across the social sciences and humanities while focusing on core human rights issues such as Indigenous human rights, women’s human rights, queer and trans rights, the refugee crisis, human trafficking, and genocide.


  • Briefing Paper 15%
  • Organization Profile 15%
  • Research Essay 25%
  • Participation 15%
  • Final Exam 30%


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.



All course readings are freely available on Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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