Summer Timetable

POL412H1S L0101

Human Rights and International Relations


In this course, we will inquire into the origins of human rights, how they have become mobilized for politics, and what this means for international relations. We begin by entering into a vibrant debate about the conceptual, legal and political sources of human rights. We will read and discuss recent influential works alongside classic texts that have shaped the way we think about humanity and human rights. In the second part of the course, we explore how human rights work in the world today. Engaging more closely with the application of international relations theory, we examine how transnational human rights movements evolved, how human rights treaties, courts and prosecutions work, and how military intervention became entangled with the human rights movement. Finally, we will examine how international law is implicated in the contemporary refugee crisis, and consider whether human rights can and should retain their power in a global society.


Samuel Moyn. The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History, Harvard University Press, 2010; TBA

Format and Requirements

Attendance (10%); Reading Responses and Presentation (30%); Book Review (25%); Critical Essay (35%).


POL201Y1 or (POLB90H3 and POLB91H3) or POL208Y1 or POL208Y5 or (POLB80H3 and POLB81H3)

POL 412Y1