Welcome to the website for “Human Rights in latin America” a course taught by Dr. Marian Schlotterbeck in Spring 2015
Why are human rights violated? When and why are human rights protected? As a history course on the origins, denial, and protection of human rights in Latin America, we will use two case studies—Argentina and Guatemala—to answer these questions. For each country, we will examine historical context surrounding the rise of military dictatorships, the emergence of organized resistance by civil society, the efforts to enact political reform and defend human rights, and the ongoing problems posed by justice and memory. As a culminating final project, each student group will apply our framework for analyzing historical human rights abuses to a third case study of their choice on a contemporary human rights issue in Latin America.
Human rights must be understood as an embedded social practice, and thus we will move beyond an interest in theory to an exploration of how rights are practiced, by whom, and to what ends. Ideas about human rights are always located within broader debates about the moral, the good, the just, and the unjust. As we move through our case studies, we will explore the theoretical and practical challenges of human rights work. One goal of the course is to ask how our reading and research can advance projects for social justice by merging cultural critique and political action.