Human Rights is an interdisciplinary program spanning the arts, natural and social sciences, and languages and literature. Human Rights courses explore fundamental conceptual questions, historical and empirical issues within the disciplines, and practical and legal strategies of human rights advocacy. Students are encouraged to approach human rights in a spirit of open inquiry, challenge orthodoxies, confront ideas with reality and vice versa, and think critically about human rights as a field of knowledge rather than merely training for it as a profession.
Students moderate into the Human Rights Program alone or in combination with another program (usually through a joint Moderation), by fulfilling the other program’s requirements and the following program requirements. All students, whether joint or stand-alone majors, must anchor their studies of human rights in a disciplinary focus program of their choice (e.g., anthropology, biology, art, history, etc.). Prior to or concurrent with Moderation, students are required to take at least three human rights core courses, one additional course in human rights, and two courses in the disciplinary focus program. Following Moderation, students take at least three additional 4-credit courses in human rights, at least one of these at the 300 level; the junior research seminar (Human Rights 303); and two further courses, including one at the 300 level in the disciplinary focus program. The final requirement is completion of a Senior Project related to human rights. To concentrate in the Human Rights Program, students must take two core courses and three additional elective courses, including at least one at the 300 level.
Recent Senior Projects in Human Rights
- “How Undocumented Youth Perform Citizenship”
- “Politics and Human Rights: Reading Rancière and Arendt”
- “Thinking of Doggerland: Experiments in Climate Fiction and Narratives of Human Rights”
Students are encouraged to undertake summer internships and participate in programs off campus, including the Bard Globalization and International Affairs Program, Central European University, Smolny College, American University of Central Asia, and Bard College Berlin.
Core courses include Human Rights 101, Introduction to Human Rights; Human Rights 105, Human Rights Advocacy; Human Rights 120, Human Rights Law and Practice; Human Rights 213, Gay Rights, Human Rights; Human Rights 218, Free Speech; Human Rights 226, Women’s Rights, Human Rights; Human Rights 234, (Un)Defining the Human; Human Rights 235, Dignity and the Human Rights Tradition; Human Rights 240, Observation and Description; Human Rights 2509, Telling Stories about Rights; and Human Rights 257, Human Rights and the Economy. Core courses offered through other fields of study include Anthropology/GIS 224, A Lexicon of Migration; Anthropology 261, Anthropology of Violence and Suffering; History 2356, American Indian History; History 2631, Capitalism and Slavery; Political Studies 245, Human Rights in Global Politics; and Spanish 240, Testimonies of Latin America.
Program Director: Thomas Keenan
Emma L. Briant
Susan M. Merriam
Gregory B. Moynahan