RIGHTS AND CONFLICT IN SOUTH ASIA
(Global Cultures Flag)
Autumn 2015: ANS 361, GOV 365-L
Virtual (combined) Class Number: v00106)
Tuesday, 3:00 – 6:00 PM
PROFESSOR PAULA NEWBERG
Office hours: to be announced, and by appointment
Course overview: Politics in modern south Asia are shaped, often dramatically, by contests about the nature of rights, the ways that citizens claim their rights, and the ways that states respond to those claims. Every state in the region contends with popular movements to assert rights, whether through war and insurgencies, experiments with constitutions and the rule of law, or efforts to secure the rights of excluded groups, minorities and the economically disadvantaged. Each state has also tried variously to promote and protect rights – on their own, and with their neighbors and the international community -- and to limit them in order to consolidate power.
As a result, political change is often accompanied by conflict. What do rights have to do with political change? With contemporary cases as our guide, we will explore conflicts in the region by asking how states and societies are meeting the challenges of creating rights-based political orders, and how and why they succeed or fail. The range of potential topics is intriguing, varied and broad; after our introduction to the field and the region, we will focus on topics related to rights and conflict.
Using political writings, government documents, laws and regulations, social science analysis, local journalism and reporting from local and international organizations we will dissect the meanings of rights in the region, and strive to understand the different ways that these complex issues affect citizens, states, observers and rights advocates. In the process, we will examine the tools that are employed to protect rights and to limit them, and how reports on rights conditions are developed and used. As we navigate this complicated terrain, we will explore the nature of conflicts, conflicts about rights, and the ways that south Asia continues to develop.
We will use our readings and discussions to learn about the region through the lenses of rights and governance, and to refine our understanding of rights through the experiences of the people and states that comprise south Asia today. By the end of the course, each student should have a working understanding of some of the many challenges involving fundamental rights in south Asia, a grasp of analysis and reporting related to rights, and the skills needed to write about rights and politics. Neither prior experience with the region nor detailed knowledge of human rights is required for this course (although those who have studied either or both are welcome to join the class).
Prerequisites: Six hours of lower-division Government courses.
Requirements: A seminar succeeds when all of us are fully engaged. Please use any electronic devices – including computers, tablets, and telephones -- in the classroom only when we are consulting documents or other media that are most easily available online and relevant to the immediate class discussion. If you carry a cell phone with you, please silence it before class begins.
All seminar members are required to attend all classes punctually; complete all assignments (both written and oral); participate actively in every class and as designated, lead class discussions on assigned readings and written projects. Your class attendance and participation will contribute significantly to your final grade.
Grading: Class participation and collegiality will be essential to the success of this seminar. Your oral and written products will be graded on the basis of their clarity, organization, structure and quality of argument, including your ability to marshal evidence to support your arguments. Grading will be done on a 100-point scale, translated into plus and minus grades.
Participation: Participation will count toward 40% of the term grade. As part of class preparation, I will assign 1-2 page reading response memos on topics related to readings and class discussion. Specific assignments for class discussion will be indicated as we progress through the semester. All class members are expected to participate in every class session.
Papers: Each student will be expected to prepare two concise, 1500-1750 word written assignments and a final paper of approximately 2250-2500 words. Paper #1 (due October 6, 2015) will count toward 15% of your grade; paper #2 (due November 3, 2015), toward 20% of your grade; and paper #3 (due December 51, 2015) for 25% of your grade.
Everyone is expected to come to talk with me during office hours or other arranged times to discuss paper topics.
Please provide your papers to me in hard copy (in person) as well as electronically. Please take the time to revise, proofread, and follow accepted form for footnotes and references.
Penalties for late paper submission will be ½ grade for each late day, unless you provide timely and appropriate documentation from health services or your personal physician.
Intellectual integrity: Be sure that your written submissions do not plagiarize the intellectual property of others: do not copy, without attribution, a sequence of three or more words from a published text, an internet source, grey literature or another person’s work. Plagiarizing is a form of cheating, and is grounds for a failing grade in this course. Any incident of plagiarism will be reported to Student Judicial Services.
I expect all students to see me during office hours and other pre-arranged appointments to discuss classroom and written assignments. Should office hours be inconvenient, please schedule an appointment with me for another time.
Course readings: Three books are available for purchase:
Jack Donnelly: Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice, Third Edition (Cornell University Press, 2003). Required.
Julie A. Mertus and Jeffrey W. Helsing, eds. (2006): Human Rights and Conflict: Exploring Links Between Rights, Law and Peacebuilding. Required.
Timothy Sisk (2013): Statebuilding: Consolidating Peace after Civil War. Recommended.
For reference and background, you might want to refer to a compendium edited by Micheline Ishay entitled The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, 2nd. Edition.
Other materials (including videos): I will post class assignments – including PDFs when URLs are not available -- and other notices on Blackboard on a regular basis. Class readings are generally available online; in some instances, I will distribute materials in class. Should you miss a class session, please contact me (and perhaps a classmate) for further information.
Global Cultures: This course carries the Global Cultures flag. Global Cultures courses are designed to increase your familiarity with cultural groups outside the United States. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from assignments covering the practices, beliefs, and histories of at least one non-U.S. cultural group, past or present.