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TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY – SAN SAN MARCOS MARCOS UNIVERSITY HONORS PROGRAM Title: HONORS 3394V--Universal Human Rights: A Global Perspective Instructor: Catherine Hawkins, Ph.D., LCSW Professor of Social Work Honorary Professor of International Studies School of Social Work Office: HPB 150 Phone: 245-2592 Email: ch11@txstate.edu Course description: This course will examine universal human rights as an organizing framework for understanding the exceedingly complex global community in which we live today. It will examine significant social, political, philosophical, historical, legal, economic, geographic, and cultural factors that impact universal human rights. It will provide an overview of the challenges in implementing universal human rights, explore effective efforts to redress inequity, and examine opposing viewpoints. It will encourage students to engage in critical inquiry, cultural critique, personal self-reflection, and advocacy action in order to facilitate the development of a more humane global perspective for the 21 st century. Course rationale: The University encourages the adaptation of an international and multi-cultural perspective. There appears to be general agreement among university faculty regarding the need to instill a global perspective in our students, regardless of academic discipline, in order to better prepare them for leadership in the 21 st century. Yet this massive amount of cross-discipline content must be organized in some systematic way. “Human rights” is a useful organizing framework that advocates an activist orientation and encourages students to pursue an ethical stance toward universal equality, especially for the most poor, oppressed, and vulnerable people (who are often children). This course will adapt a theme of universal human rights in order to assist students in understanding the many conflicting contemporary forces which shape human relations on a global scale. Universal human rights are both supremely simple and exceedingly complex and open to intense controversy. In order to
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engage in a critical analysis of this topic, students must be minimally informed of the basic underlying premises. Human rights are typically defined as universal and indivisible. That is, all human are entitled to basic rights, and all human should receive all rights, regardless of group affiliation. These principles were codified in the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights ratified in 1948, and in several additional treaties over the next forty years. There is considerable debate about the "universalism" vs. "cultural relativism" of these documents as well as a substantial gap between the ideal of humanism and the ongoing reality of human inequality. Of particular current relevance, Article 18 of the UDHR addresses religious freedom, which lies at the fault line of many contemporary global problems and man-made disasters. This course will provide an overview of the topic of human rights with a focus on
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