Human Rights (Minor)

The Human Rights Minor at UMass Boston is an interdisciplinary program of study open to students from all disciplines. Housed in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, the minor emerged from the student-faculty-community collaboration of the Human Rights Working Group, which seeks to foster and sustain a human rights community on campus and beyond.

Although you may have heard of organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, you may have wondered what it means to commit oneself to the study and practice of human rights. In this minor, we will learn about the concept of human rights as it developed in the 20th century and the challenges of implementing a universal framework in a culturally diverse, radically unequal and gendered world. International human rights frameworks express aspirations to create a world in which each and every person can live a life of dignity, free from fear and want. Human rights concepts are continuously evolving through the contributions of activists, academics and community participants. Women and feminists from all parts of the world have been at the forefront of this evolution toward creating a world that is more just and equitable.

Topics covered in the courses include an overview of United Nations human rights conventions and norms as adopted by states, as well as critiques of human rights systems with particular emphasis on the role that social, political and feminist movements have had on transforming human rights frameworks to better address the situation of marginalized populations globally. Throughout the minor, we will consider the influence of culture, cross-cultural interaction, colonial perspectives and our own global and gender perspectives on creating human rights consciousness locally and globally.

A total of six courses are required for completing the minor.

Required courses:
WGS 110 Gender in Global Context
WGS/ANTH 295L Introduction to Human Rights
WGS 401 Approaches to Human Rights

Elective courses:
POLSCI 252 Modern Political Theory
POLSCI/ASAMST 265L Japanese American Internment
ENGL 293 Literature and Human Rights
SOCIOL 230 Race, Incarceration, and Deportation
WGS 268 Global Bodies: Sex, Families, and Reproductive Rights in Transnational Perspective
WGS 270 Indigenous Women in North America
LAIS 270 Latina America and Human Rights
WGS 360 Gender, Culture, and Power
WGS 345 Gender, Religion and Politics in South Asia
WGS 355L Gender, Development and Globalization
POLSCI 307 Political Change and Group Identity
POLSCI 332 Civil Liberties in the US
POLSCI 367 Immigration Politics in Comparative Perspective
POLSCI 369 Middle East Politics
HIST 346 Women and Gender in African History
ECON 418 Political Economy of Violent Conflict
PHIL 450 Rights
POLSCI 404 Politics of Arab-Israeli Conflict
PSYCH 403 Gender, Culture and Health
CRSCAD 521 Dignity and Disaster: Human Dignity, Human Rights and Sustainable Post-Disaster Reconstruction
CRSCAD 522 Migrants and Refugees
CONRES 623 Theories of Conflict Resolution
SGISD 605 International Responses to Global Inclusion
SGISD 624 Introduction to Human Rights Law, Policy and Practice
SGISD 625 Human Rights-Based Approaches to Social Justice
SGISD 626 Global Health and Human Rights