Spring 2021 - IS 309 D100

Special Topics in International Security and Conflict (4)

Intl Human Rights

Class Number: 8414

Delivery Method: Remote


  • 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 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%


Active participation is expected, with attendance in all sessions. Weekly readings will be assigned for class presentation on the basis of groups formed at the outset. A report that analyzes assigned readings will be required, as well as a final paper based on topics from the course syllabus.

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.


The course will be taught as a hybrid of asynchronous (recorded lectures) and synchronous (Zoom) modes.
Students are required to have a computer with a working microphone/camera, and a stable internet connection.



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 the Canvas site.


Richard Falk, Achieving Human Rights. Routledge, 2008. Library E-book.

The Human Rights Reader. ed. Micheline Ishay. 2nd ed. Routledge, 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 spring 2021 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).