Democracy and Human Rights

The Muwatin Institute for the Study of Democracy and Human Rights offers a program of study leading to the MA degree in Democracy and Human Rights. The Program seeks to develop interdisciplinary research and study skills, and knowledge production and innovation related to the development of a more democratic public sphere in Palestine and the world, with a focus on the protection of human rights and human dignity. Develop a national emancipatory understanding and practice related to the questions of democracy and human rights.

The Program addresses itself to students who are interested in any aspect of Democracy and Human Rights, including educators (schools, institutes, and universities), workers in government and civil society organizations, and academic researchers interested in democracy and human rights issues.

The M.A Program in Democracy and Human Rights

The training of experts in various areas including: teaching democracy and human rights, working on question of democracy and human rights in various sectors, and knowledge production on issues of democracy and human rights, and contributing to the building and consolidation of democracy and the respect and protection of human rights, and fostering social justice.

  • Capable graduates, who can contribute to building and consolidating democratic societies that respect and protect human rights and human dignity.
  • Interdisciplinary academic research oriented towards contributing to achieving a better life for Palestinians through developing democratic structures and the respect of human rights.

Education sector (schools, institutes and universities), civil society organizations, the public sector, international organizations, and all institutions that need personnel with knowledge in issues of democracy and human rights.

List of Courses, Requirements and Restrictions Applicable to Programme Students

Type of Course

Course Number

Course Title

Requirements and Restrictions

Prerequisites

Remedial Courses

5001

English Language for Studying Social Sciences

Required as per results of examination

None

5002

Advanced Introduction to Social Sciences

Required as per letter of admission

None

6001

Using the Library, Data bases, Search Engines, and Scientific Documentation

 

None

6002

Critical Reading and review of Literature

 

None

6003

Scientific Writing and Argument Construction

 

None

6004

Research Proposal Writing

 

None

6005

Field Work

 

None

6006

Quantitative Analysis

 

None

Required Courses

6311

Democracy in Theory and Practice

Required 6 hours

None

6312

Human Rights in Theory and Practice

6313

Introduction to Studying and Researching Interdisciplinary Issues in Social Sciences

Required 3 hours

6311, 6312

6321

Issues of Transitions to Democracy

Required 3 hours

6311

6322

History of Democracy

6331

International Human Rights Law

Required 3 hours

6312

6332

International, Regional, and National Mechanisms for the Protection of Human Rights

Elective Courses

6351

Theories of Rights and Human Rights

 

6312

6352

Democracy and Social Justice

 

6311, 6312

6353

Democracy and the Deconstruction of Hegemonic Structures

 

6311

6354

Political Theories and the Sources of Legitimacy

 

6311

6355

Democracy and the Questions of Identity, Culture and History

 

6311

6356

Civil Society

 

Programme consent

6357

Democracy, Human Rights, and Globalization

 

6311, 6312

6358

Democracy and Human Rights in Education

 

6311, 6312

6359

The Legislative Process

 

6311, 6312

6161

Basics of International Criminal Law

 

Programme consent

6162

Basics of International Humanitarian Law

 

Programme consent

6163

Basics of International Humanitarian and Criminal Law and the Palestinian Cause

 

Programme consent

6171

Democracy as an Interest and a Value

 

Programme consent

6172

Democracy and Citizenship

 

Programme consent

6173

Democracy, International Relations, and the World Order

 

Programme consent

6181

Political Parties in Palestine

 

Programme consent

6182

Palestinian Civil Society Organizations

 

Programme consent

6183

Refugee Rights

 

Programme consent

6184

Human Rights and Current Laws in Palestine

 

Programme consent

6185

Issues of Democracy and Human Rights Under Occupation

 

 

None

6186

The Condition of Human Rights in Palestine

None

6190

Current Issues

 

Programme consent

7311

Critiques of Democracy and Human Rights

 

Completion of required courses or Programme consent

7312

Democracy and Political Transformations in the Global South

 

Completion of required courses or Programme consent

7313

Democracy and Human Rights in Contemporary Arab and Islamic Thought

 

Completion of required courses or Programme consent

7314

Human Dignity, Democracy, and Human Rights

 

Completion of required courses or Programme consent

7315

The Philosophy of Human Rights

 

Completion of required courses or Programme consent

7316

Arab State, Revolution, and Political Transformation

 

Completion of required courses or Programme consent

7317

Hegemony, Democracy, and Human Rights in the World and in Palestine

 

Completion of required courses or Programme consent

 

7120

Selected Conceptions of Democracy and Human Rights

 

Programme consent

7130

Selected Models of Human Rights Practices

 

Programme consent

7140

Selected Models of Democratic Practice

 

Programme consent

 

7190

Contemporary Issues

 

Programme consent

 

7390

Special Topic

 

Programme consent

Elective Courses on Advanced Skills and Practice

7151

Internship (practicum)

A maximum of one credit hour will count from courses 7151-8154

 

Programme consent

7152

Documentation of Violations (practicum)

Programme consent

7153

Strategic Planning

Programme consent

7154

Managing Campaigns and Activities

Programme consent

Requirements for Graduation in Track “A”

8600

Thesis 

Required 6 hours

Completion of required courses and Programme consent

Requirements for Graduation in Track “B”

 

8301

Seminar 1 (in Democracy)

8302

Seminar 2 (in Human Rights)

 

Remedial Courses

5001

English Language for Studying Social Sciences

English readings in the social sciences. The course aims at developing reading and comprehension skills (analysis of linguistic structures, discovery of meaning in context, distinguishing between main and secondary ideas, facts and personal opinions, tracing the development and organization of ideas). In addition, the readings are designed to help students build a stock of theoretical concepts and associated technical terms.

5002

Advanced Introduction to Social Sciences

A study of important texts in the fields of democracy, human rights, law, development, and gender. The aim is to present and discuss concepts and central debates in the social sciences, including: power structures and relations of different kinds—imperial (colonial), racial, gender and class-related; instrumentalities of domination, hegemony and subjugation; formation of social identities; the dialectic of power and individual will; types of discourse. These concepts and debates will be used as analytical-critical frameworks in the process of understanding the logic of social science discourse.

  Remedial Courses in Research Basics and Skills

6001

Using the Library, Data bases, Search Engines, and Scientific Documentation

Practical skills employed in the search for resources relevant to research on specific subjects. These include: choosing keywords, cataloguing systems, important data bases in the areas of democracy and human rights, goals and methods of documentation, commonly used methods of documentation, and training in the use of different styles of documentation.

6002

Critical Reading and Review of Literature

Skills of critical reading of academic writings. These include: discovering central claims and theoretical frameworks; evaluation of the internal logic of the text and connections between theoretical frameworks, methods of research and results arrived at; identifying and reviewing relevant literature; forms and methods of criticism of the literature.

6003

Scientific Writing and Argument Construction

Academic writing skills: formulating a thesis, structuring ideas, dividing the paper (chapter) into sections, writing in a logically orderly manner. Students will also learn to recognize elements and structure of arguments - premises, conclusion (direct and indirect), and to distinguish between proof and probability, data, assumptions, presuppositions, and inferences.

6004

Research Proposal Writing

Practical training in the formulation of research proposals. The following elements of research proposals will be dealt with: the research problem, its importance, and how its solution contributes to current knowledge about the subject being studied; research method and instruments used to gather data; theoretical foundations; review of literature; list of proposed references; positioning of the proposed research in relation of other disciplines; thesis to be defended; assumptions and definitions of terms; time framework for the proposed research.

6005

Field Work

Introduction to methods, procedures and elements of field work, including: information gathering, varieties of sampling techniques, in-depth interview, structured and semi-structured interview, questionnaires, respect of privacy, coding, in-putting, and presenting of information.

6006

Quantitative Analysis

This course discusses methods and procedures for obtaining quantifiable information, how it is to be analyzed and evaluated, as well as methods for reaching conclusions on the basis of quantified information.

Required Courses

6311

Democracy in Theory and Practice

An analytical study of the essential constitutive elements of democracy, its concepts and theoretical frameworks, including different conceptions of democratic practice and institutions. To be also discussed are the relation between liberalism and democracy, the concept of citizenship, individual and group rights, methods of protecting rights of all without exception. The course will also deal with the concepts of freedom and equality, social and economic rights, and how these concepts have been implemented in different historical periods. There will also be criticism of 20th century democracy from the standpoint of multiple theoretical frames. Of particular interest will be the use of democratic discourses as instruments of foreign policy.

6312

Human Rights in Theory and Practice

An introduction to the concept of human rights, its origin and development, and the historical evolution of human rights law. Topics to be covered in this course include: the changing conceptions of human rights in the different walks of life, common-sense, religion, political thought, and the law; issues in the practical application and protection of human rights with special attention to post-World War II developments; the attitude and practice of different political and legal system in relation to the protection of human rights; role of the UN, non-government organizations, and public opinion, political organizations, the media, popular movements in the protection of human rights. The course will also deal with the use of human rights advocacy as an instrument of foreign policy.

6313

Introduction to Studying and Researching Interdisciplinary Issues in Social Sciences

A study of the epistemological and ontological assumptions and foundations of quantitative and qualitative methods. The following questions and issues are to be dealt with: the relation between theory and method; methodological issues in academic research in relation to epistemological determinants (context, facts, stereotypes, consensus); goals, ethics, and means of carrying out research; matching research method to research problem, data, and other methods traditionally employed in specific fields; methods and instruments of quantitative and qualitative research; organization and critical analysis of ideas and information for purposes of writing; conceptual structure of the research, analysis, synthesis, causal relations and other methodological issues; issues of representation and power relations between researcher and research subjects; problems of research ethics; constituents of the research proposal—the research problem, methods, theoretical foundations, review of literature, analysis, and documentation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Required Courses in Democracy

Choice of one course

6321

Issues of Transitions to Democracy

A study and analysis of the most important theoretical and practical issues, motivations and mechanisms relating to political transition to democracy. Topics to be covered include: theories and conceptions of democratic transitions (elite theory, rational choice, social contract theory); empirical studies of successful and unsuccessful transitions, with special reference to transitions from military, totalitarian, and absolute monarchical regimes to democracy, with the purpose of comprehending the role of economics, prevailing culture and international pressures in impeding or aiding the process of democratic transition; origins, political, intellectual and field-related motives lying behind the rise of “Transition to Democracy” as a field of research with different theoretical approaches; case studies of transition to democracy in Arab countries; relation between transition to democracy and: development, modernization, globalization, liberation, revolution and social forces supporting such transitions; difficulties and horizons for transition to democracy in Palestine.

6322

History of Democracy

A history of world political conflicts, with special emphasis on changes in concept and application of democracy and democratic principles in the present age of globalization. The course will present a critical reading of this history in the context of imperialism and liberation, with the aim of understanding the role of social movements of workers, women, and political parties viewed as providing ground for the growth and development of the will of the people to be represented in government. Other issues to be discussed are: the historical inauguration of democracy in association with economic systems and accompanying political philosophies; the normative turn of thinking about ideas of democracy in theory and practice; the development of Euro-centrism in the normative history of democracy; evolution of non- and anti-Eurocentric conceptions of democracy. Special attention will be accorded to democracy in countries of the South (Arab countries in particular).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Required Courses in Human Rights

Choice of one course

6331

International Human Rights Law

A study of the idea of the international law of human rights, its origin, development, and the principles which it comprises. The role of United Nation organizations in the dissemination of the idea of human rights and the protection of those rights will be discussed, in addition to the role played by international and regional conventions and agreements, such as the UN Declaration of Human Right and others. Also to be discussed are the approaches employed in these declarations and conventions in order to justify principles of equality, women’s and children’s rights, as well as civil, social, and economic rights. Additionally, the course will touch on such issues as: concepts of rights relevant to cultural specificity and universal humanity; right to life, prohibition of torture, racial discrimination, freedom of speech, protection of minorities, and state of emergency laws. Finally, the course will discuss changes in the interpretation and application of human rights law and violations committed by different states in the present neo-liberal period.

6332

International, Regional, and National Mechanisms for the Protection of Human Rights

Development, structure and content of regional regulations and mechanisms used in the protection of human rights in relation to United Nation laws, as well as the variety of such regulations and mechanisms as observed in European, American, African and (prospective) Arab human rights law. The course will also discuss methods of grounding international human rights law in terms of national culture, and how such methods can be articulated in relation to international human rights law in political, legal and practical terms.

Elective Courses

6351

Theories of Rights and Human Rights

This course examines a number of issues that lie at the intersection of law, ethics, and political theory: the origin and justification of rights and obligations; the different interpretations of justice, equality, and freedom; the different theoretical frameworks for the discussion of right, such as those of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Rawls, Contractarianism and Utilitarianism. To be also dealt with are philosophical theories of rights in relation to such notions as human action, identity, freedom of the will, responsibility and the applicability of such theories in the areas of civil rights, criminal law, gender equality, minority rights, racial and ethnic discrimination.

6352

Democracy and Social Justice

An in-depth study of the relation between democracy, economic, and social rights. Three approaches will be considered. (1) The ‘no-relation’ approach based on the idea that economic and social rights are not rights in the strict sense of the word. (2) The ‘basic minimum’ approach, according to which a basic minimum of social and economic rights must be fulfilled, in view of the fact that great economic disparities lead to political and social inequality, and hence to political instability. (3) The approach according to which social and economic rights are rights in the strict philosophical sense, justified not only by reference to considerations of political and social stability, but as rights in and of themselves.

6353

Democracy and the Deconstruction of Hegemonic Structures

This course addresses the question of whether a democratic system of government is able to dissolve hegemonic structures of power (be they colonial, totalitarian, social or class structures). What would be the nature of such a system? How can democratic systems be strengthened from the perspective of human liberation and the dissolution of hegemonic structures, including those that are embedded in law and general policy? The course discusses the basis, mechanisms and modus operandi of democratic systems, and the potential which they hold for the realization of freedom for peoples, social groups and individuals. Prominent thinkers such as Gramsci, Habermas, and Zizek and others will be considered, in conjunction with rising democratic systems, national, ethnic liberation, and anti-discrimination movements.

6354

Political Theories and the Sources of Legitimacy

A discussion of some of the fundamental issues raised by past and present political thinkers, undertaken through study of important theoretical texts. Issues to be raised include: justification of different types of political system (democracy, anarchy, dictatorship); contract theories and theories of state; the language of rights (its meaning, function, and value); duty and limits of obedience; the problem of minorities; liberty (positive and negative); justice (formal and substantive); state and civil society; social-economic systems (capitalism, socialism, welfare state) and conceptions of freedom and justice which support them; sources of legitimacy; domination; and civil disobedience.

6355

Democracy and the Questions of Identity, Culture and History

This course discusses the relation between democracy in concept and practice on one hand, and prevailing political culture, identity and history, on the other. Subjects to be dealt with include: the relation between historically constitutive elements of culture and the present political culture; how political culture influences democratic practice; the manner in which democracy itself stands to affect political culture and identity. Special attention will be given to the relation between transition to democracy and processes of liberalization which, in their turn, stand to affect culture, collective, and individual identities. The influence exercised by colonial heritage on culture and identity will also be considered. Arab and Palestinian culture will be kept in view throughout the course.

6356

Civil Society

A study of the various meanings associated with the term “civil society” – how the different uses of the term evolved historically down to the present time. The course will also discuss the different constituent elements of civil society, its institutions, conditions for its (continued) existence and the connection between the concept and certain others, such as citizenship, nationalism, and democracy. Also to be dealt with is the function which the concept has been made to serve in Arab and international contexts, with reference to Palestine during the last three decades, and how the concept acquired symbolic status in the struggle against authoritarian Arab states.

6357

Democracy, Human Rights, and Globalization

An examination of how democracy and human rights acquired new dimensions in the present age of globalism. The course will track transformations in the concept and practice of democracy and human rights, as well political and organizational structures, local and global, in the light of their origins, purposes, and effects. The course will also seek to understand these transformations in the light changes in the world system, such as the present unipolarity of international politics, increased dependence on information technology, neoliberalism, and the universal concern for security. The course will take time to examine different ideas about: the need to develop democratic systems in respect of mechanisms and forms of representation; the use of information technology; developing new international and regional organizations to be part of the present system for protecting human rights; the place of democracy and human rights at the level of international organizations, and the consequences of this for countries of the South, with special emphasis on the Arab world and Palestine.

6358

Democracy and Human Rights in Education

An examination of three concepts: “education for democracy”, “democracy of education”, and “right to education”. The course will seek to clarify the ideas and principles which underlie different conceptions of democracy and human rights, and will focus on the methods of implementing these ideas and principles via education at home, school, and in society at large. Additionally, the course will study concepts, methods, and philosophy of education, from the perspective of convergence with, or divergence from the principles of democracy and human rights. The course will also introduce students to the theoretical foundations of teaching democracy and human rights, democracy in the teaching-learning process, and how this difference from memorization and rote learning.

6359

The Legislative Process

The course outlines and discusses the various stages of the legislative process, and seeks to determine how, and where, substantive and/or formal infringements may take place, affecting rights, the will of the people, legislative consistency and harmony, and the ranking of laws and regulations. The course also discusses processes, instruments and procedures related to constitutional review and compliance with international human rights law. Legislative policies, plans, and priorities will also be dealt with.

Short Elective Courses (One Credit Hour)

6161

Basics of International Criminal Law

A comprehensive historical, theoretical and practical overview of international criminal law. The course outlines the development of the international criminal court-system from the Tokyo War Crimes Trials, the Nuremberg Trial, down to the present International Court of Justice. The course seeks to provide students with essential knowledge about: judicial committees, international criminal courts, individual responsibility before international criminal law, international crimes, accountability, truth and reconciliation. Additionally, the course will dwell on the value and importance of major precedents in national and international courts.

6162

Basics of International Humanitarian Law

This introduction to international humanitarian law raises two questions: under what conditions is it legitimate to use force to apply humanitarian law? What modalities are permissible in the use of force? The course will also deal with the following issues: history and sources of international humanitarian law in relation to the principles it embodies (distinction, proportionality, military and humanitarian necessities and exigencies); international agreements and conventions which constitute the source of this law; present-day challenges and recalcitrant problems of application; classification of types of conflict; combatants and civilians; administration of territories under occupation; conduct of war and legitimate weapons; the relation between humanitarian law and human rights law.

6163

Basics of International Humanitarian and Criminal Law and the Palestinian Cause

A study of both international human rights law and international criminal law, with the Palestinian cause serving as a case study. The course will discuss how international laws were (or were not) applied in the Palestinian case, and the relevant issues which this raises for these laws. The course will also deal with technical issues of implementation with respect to the Palestinian case, and will present a critical analysis of the possibilities and limits of applying international law, and the effects which this stands to have on the Palestinian project of liberation.

6171

Democracy as an Interest and a Value

A comparative discussion and analysis of two rival conceptions of the grounds for adopting democracy as a system of government: the moral conception and the pragmatic conception. Questions for both conceptions will be raised and debated. Is democracy, together with all the practices associated with it, such as tolerance, pluralism, etc., of value in and of itself, and thus a moral choice of sorts (first conception)? Or is democracy, with all the practices associated with it, a matter of practical calculation of interests and utilities (public and private), so that viewing democracy as a value is consequent upon viewing it in terms of interests (second conception)? The course will seek to place the different answers in different philosophical and ideological perspectives in a way that will encourage students to arrive at well-reasoned positions about the motivations that lie behind the choice of democracy as a political system.

6172

Democracy and Citizenship

A study of the concept of equal citizenship as a central concept of democratic thought-- a concept whose absence is sufficient to invalidate any claim on behalf of a political system to being democratic. The course intends to examine how this concept operates at the level of state laws and internal policies, and how it requires the absence of discrimination between citizens on the basis of gender, race, religion, and ethnicity.

6173

Democracy, International Relations, and the World Order

This course deals with changes which took place in democratic systems and associated ideas since the end of the Cold War, and the rise of the “New World Order”. Issues to be discussed include: circumstances and changes leading to the laying down of international standards for being a democracy, and the notion of there being externally defined criteria for political legitimacy; changes in the understanding and practice of national sovereignty, and the relation of this to international law, war and peace; changes in the role of the United Nations.

6181

Political Parties in Palestine

A general introduction to the development of political parties in Palestine since the end of World War II. The following subjects will be dealt with: Palestinian political parties before 1948; the rise of pan-Arab and Islamic parties; changes in type and nature of political parties after the founding of Palestinian National Liberation Organization (PLO). Special attention will be given to transformation of parties during the PLO period, and the rise of new (or neo-)Islamist parties after 1967. Also to be dealt with are changes in the political (party) scene after the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.

6182

Palestinian Civil Society Organizations

A study of the development of civil society activism and organizations through two major periods: from 1918 to 1967, and during the post -1967 period of Occupation and Palestinian Authority rule. The course also deals with transformations of priorities and changes in roles played by civil society organizations.

6183

Refugee Rights

This course examines international laws which are relevant to the protection of refugee rights, their historical development, and legal evolution. The course provides a survey of actors, international agreements, commissions, committees and organizations that deal with refugee affairs (UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UNRWA, etc.) The course will also touch on the following issues: the relation between refugee laws and international human rights law; international and local challenges which face the task of providing protection for refugees; the impact of international political developments and changes on refugee rights and protections.

6184

Human Rights and Current Laws in Palestine

A critical-analytical study of current laws in Palestine from the perspective of human rights. The course aims in part at ascertaining the role which these laws can or do play in putting an end to the effects of colonialism. The course offers a historical perspective on the development of law and legislation in Palestine, including constitutional, administrative and penal legislation. The course also examines laws dating back to the colonial period, their extensions into the present time, and assesses the degree of protection these laws provide for human rights. Finally, the course will deal with Palestinian human rights legislation at the present, successes, failures, and possibilities of developing laws that provide protection for human rights.

6190

Current Issues

An intermediate-level elective course dealing with current issues and recent developments of interest to researchers in democracy and human rights.

 

 

Short Elective Courses (one credit hour) for Students from Outside the Programme

6185

The Condition of Human Rights in Palestine

A survey and discussion of issues of human rights in Palestine, including: history and institutionalization of the advocacy of human rights; methods and instruments used to defend them; human rights activism; evaluation of the system of defending human rights; popular conceptions of human rights.

6186

Issues of Democracy and Human Rights Under Occupation

The course focuses on the specificity of the ideas and practices of democracy and human rights under occupation. The course deals with the following topics: societal priorities of people living under colonialism, and the consequences of this for the development of a human rights system; Palestinian resistance, progress and retreat along the democratic path; obstacles facing democracy and human rights in the absence of national sovereignty; consequence of the Oslo Agreements for democracy and human rights.

Advanced Elective Courses

7311

Critiques of Democracy and Human Rights

A critical study of the concepts of democracy and human rights. The course discusses the following topics: the economic foundations of liberal democracy; the problematic assumptions of human rights theory; the meaning of the term ‘man’ as used in human rights discourses; critique of democratic and human rights ideas and arrangements, both in theory and practice, with emphasis on contemporary discussions; critiques of democracy from different perspectives—Marxist, feminist, etc.; critique of different types of Islamic democratic discourse; liberal democratic critique of other types of democratic discourses; radical critique of contemporary forms of democracy. The course will also present criticisms of various types of human rights discourse along the lines indicated above.

7312

Democracy and Political Transformations in the Global South

This course deals with the specificities of political transformation in countries of the South in view of colonial heritage , direct and indirect domination by foreign powers , need for development --all connected to existing political regimes. and the changes these are going through. The course will discuss theories according to which democratization and development depend on each other. Other issues to be discussed include the political import of development, foreign intervention and neo-colonialism in the guise of foreign aid ostensibly aimed at development; (the evolution of ) concepts of development in the post-World War II period, culminating in the introduction of concepts of participation, inclusivity and sustainability; use of the concept of democratic development and human rights under conditions of colonial domination; alternative concepts of development; liberation and development.

7313

Democracy and Human Rights in Contemporary Arab and Islamic Thought

An introduction to contemporary Arab and Islamic thought which concerns itself with democracy and/or transition to democracy. The course will include a historical narrative which begins with Arab democratic thought in the Arab Renaissance period, and covers the inter-war years, Nasserism, and contemporary discussions (which have been taking since the 70s of the past century).To be dealt with in this historical narrative are: concepts of democracy in relation to Arab society’s political, economic, and social needs; intellectual background of contemporary social and political movements which strive for democracy; the pressing issues of democracy and human rights such as freedom, rights, political and intellectual pluralism; secularism; cultural specificity—all to be discussed in connection with modern Western scientific and intellectual heritage, as well as modern Arab and Islamic reform movements.

7314

Human Dignity, Democracy, and Human Rights

An examination of the concept of human dignity and the potential which this concept holds for causing social change and movement towards realization of social justice. Among other things, the course will study: the place of the concept of dignity in human relations and human norms; philosophical approaches to the concept of dignity; the different social meanings which the concept reflects; historical struggles about the concept in context; the place of the concept of dignity in the system of human rights; the legal status of the concept and its different political manifestations; the concept of dignity in daily and professional life. The course will also discuss the reasons which lie behind the strong presence of the concept of dignity as a major slogan of popular movements, and ways in which the the concept can be realized.

7315

The Philosophy of Human Rights

The origins of the notion of human rights, the nature and justification of human rights, whether they are universal or not. The course examines the on-going international discussion about human rights, their legal standing in the Arab world, and in the world at large, and dwells on their theoretical and philosophical foundations, and their critique by different schools of thought. International consensus on human rights as reflected in the example of the International Declaration of Human Rights (among others), and the political purposes which these rights are made to serve by powerful countries, will also be dealt with in detail. Finally, attention will be given to the fact that a number of presumptive human rights are rejected by many, including some Arab countries.

7316

Arab State, Revolution, and Political Transformation

A study of three stages in the evolution of the Arab state after World War I, and the nature of the Arab state in each stage, down to the time of Arab uprisings and revolutions at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century. Special attention will be given to the breakdown of the “social contract” between Arab masses and authoritarian states in the period preceding (and foreshadowing) the recent uprisings, whereby peoples acquiesced to authoritarianism in exchange for guarantees of basic economic needs. Other topics to discussed include: the conditions necessary for transition to democracy; comparative study of revolutions in different countries, with the aim of understanding causes of failure and success, and the lessons to be learned from these; prospects of revolution in various Arab countries, as can be ascertained on the basis on the Egyptian and Tunisian experiences.

7317

Hegemony, Democracy, and Human Rights in the World and in Palestine

The nature and forms of hegemony in relation to the meanings, limits and potentials of the concepts of democracy and human rights, such as citizenship, human dignity, and rule of law. The course will present theoretical and practical approaches to facilitate understanding hegemony, its types, and structures. Also to analyzed are the organizational and institutional structures of hegemony, partial and total, at both the international and local level, in order to understand the complexities and dynamics of the effects of hegemony in daily life. The course will also analyze the instruments and technologies which are hegemonically used to engineer daily life at the political, economic and social levels. This will lay the ground for discussing the different roles which democracy, human rights and the rule of law play, both as part of the aforesaid engineering process, and as instrument of resistance.

7390

Special Topic

An in-depth study of a special topic in the area of democracy and human rights.

Advanced Short Elective Courses (one credit hour)

7120

Selected Conceptions of Democracy and Human Rights

An in-depth discussion of a selected conception of democracy and/or human rights with the aim of achieving grasp of the conception in question, relevant conceptual approaches, and the role of concepts in systems of democracy and human rights. (Course with variable content)

7130

Selected Models of Human Rights Practices

A critical discussion of a selected model of human rights practice. This course (with variable content) discusses differences and gaps between theory and practice based on the study of a specific example in the practice of human rights. One goal is to acquaint students with methods of critical analysis and to encourage innovative thinking about theory and practice of human rights.

7140

Selected Models of Democratic Practice

A critical discussion of a selected model of democratic practice. This course (with variable content) discusses differences and gaps between theory and practice based on the study of a specific example democratic practice. One goal is to acquaint students with methods of critical analysis and to encourage innovative thinking about theory and practice of democracy.

7190

Contemporary Issues

This advanced elective course deals with current (new) research, information, and knowledge in the area of democracy and human rights.

Elective Courses on Advanced Skills and Practice

( A maximum of one credit hour will count)

7151

Internship (practicum)

In this course students work as interns in an agency or institution of democracy and/or human rights. Students are expected to write interim and final reports about their work, relating personal experience to theory. There will also be periodic meetings between instructors, students, and co-workers, and exchanges of progress reports.

7152

Documentation of Violations (practicum)

In this course students will obtain training in monitoring and documentation of human rights violations. Training takes places in collaboration with appropriate agencies and institutions, where students acquire knowledge of the conceptual bases and mechanisms of the process of documentation. The course concludes with a discussion and evaluation of an actual work of documentation undertaken during the semester.

7153

Strategic Planning

A study of the skills of strategic planning, beginning with definition of objectives. The course discusses evaluation of capacities, design of work plans, determination of required steps towards objectives, and concludes with laying down criteria for the evaluation of intermediate and final achievements. Models and examples drawn from democracy and human rights activism will used.

7154

Managing Campaigns and Activities

This course, designed for democracy and human rights advocates, is an introduction to methods of organizing campaigns and other forms of mobilization. The course includes presentation and study of different models of managing campaigns, and examines cases of success and failure and causes thereof.

Graduation Requirements for Tracks “A” and “B”

6 hours required

Graduation Requirements for Track “A”

8600

Thesis 

Completion of research in chosen subject in accordance with approved Thesis instructions.

Graduation Requirements for Track “B”

8301

Seminar 1 (in Democracy)

An advanced course of study dealing with a thinker, topic, historical period, or main school of thought in the field of democracy. The course includes presentation and discussion of principles of academic honesty and research ethics. It also involves reading, analysis and discussion of research published in refereed journals. In consultation with the instructor, each student will choose a research topic. The research project must utilize an adequate number of references to be studied and analyzed. Students will present their research before class and course committee, and are expected to revise their research paper in light of instructor feedback and class discussion.

8302

Seminar 2 (in Human Rights)

An advanced course of study dealing with a thinker, topic, historical period, or main school of thought in the field of human rights. The course includes presentation and discussion of principles of academic honesty and research ethics. It also involves reading, analysis and discussion of research published in refereed journals. In consultation with the instructor, each student will choose a research topic. The research project must utilize an adequate number of references to be studied and analyzed. Students will present their research before class and course committee, and are expected to revise their research paper in light of instructor feedback and class discussion.