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Instructor: Abbey Burke. This course meets MW 4:40 – 5:55 p.m. in PE 2028.

What do we owe to the state? What does the state owe us? And what happens when our human rights and liberties conflict with those of our fellow citizens? This course will be an introduction to these questions through a reading of classic and contemporary works in ethical and political thought. Students will be introduced to the important theories, but not merely for their own sake. Our focus will be on analyzing concrete cases, such as free speech, religious pluralism, reparations, international criminal law, the redistribution of wealth, migration, secession, and the adjudication of conflicting rights.

While the course presupposes no prior knowledge of law or philosophy, an overarching question will be what to make of human rights and their status in the law. Because of this, the course may be of special interest to students who want to learn more about human rights law.


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