The course will provide a space for critical comparative discussions on how human rights are framed, exercised and contested within, and across, states in Asia. It will start with the conceptual foundations of modern human rights and the main international institutions and treaties governing them. Selected human rights issues, such as civil and political rights, dissent and torture, minority rights, atrocity, women’s rights, freedom of religion, and forced migration will then be examined to study how governments, civil society, judicial systems and the increasingly complex body of international law of human rights respond to human rights violations in Asia, and to what extent these multiple levels of human rights protections are effective in guaranteeing human rights in the region. Embracing a multiplicity of perspectives through the analysis of interdisciplinary texts, foundational documents and videos, the course will help students engage in personal exploration of what human rights can embody in their own environment.
- To gain familiarity with the basic concepts, preoccupations and issues of the international and Asian human rights movements
- To understand how experiences of colonialism, nationalism, state formation, nation-building, development, migration and globalization have shaped human rights governance, and resistance, across contemporary Asia.
- To explore some aspects of the highly diverse and increasing complex body of international law of human rights and its (tentative) application in Asia
- To engage in philosophical discussion and discourse, so that students can relate human rights issues to their everyday lives.