Fall/Winter Timetable

POL2212H1S L5101

Undergraduate Course Code: POL412H1S L5101

Human Rights Abuses and Transitional Justice


The twentieth century is often referred to as “the age of atrocity”, as it produced some of the bloodiest and most atrocious massacres in history. At the same time, human rights have become ubiquitous in the discourse of international and domestic politics, but this is a relatively new, post-World War II development. Often, we only come to know human rights when they are violated. What explains the importance of this topic? From where do such ideas come? What effect have human rights had on state policies and interactions? Why are they a topic of such intense controversy and violation, and yet there are those who believe that human rights is part of “the end of history?” This course will cover the theoretical and historical developments in human rights throughout the 20th century to the contemporary period, exploring specific human rights issues such as torture and collective rights. In addition, we will explore the attempts by states, international organizations, and non-state actors to protect human rights and how justice can be achieved in the aftermath of atrocity.