LAW International and Comparative Perspectives on Poverty and Human Rights

Prof. Sharmila Murthy,

3 credits day; 3 credits evening.


This seminar will examine from an international and comparative perspective how laws and policies impact poverty and the protection of human rights.

We will consider the linkages between the fields of international development and human rights, and explore special topics, such as human trafficking and the role of transnational corporations. We will also examine the impact of describing basic needs like food, health, housing and water as “human rights” and discuss different ways that “rights” are articulated around the world. For example, the negative rights approach embodied within US constitutional jurisprudence will be contrasted with the positive rights approach adopted by other countries, such as South Africa, which have explicitly recognized social and economic rights in their constitutions. We will also discuss the relevance to the U.S. of international instruments (such as the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights).

The class may appeal to students interested in public interest work (i.e. legal aid or civil rights) or in international law. This inter-disciplinary course will include readings from law, development economics, political science and other fields; videos and news-articles will also be assigned.

The grade will be based on a combination of class participation and a final paper. There are no prerequisites except an interest in the topic!


pointer    Final Paper Required


<<Course Updated: June 05, 2015>>