Human Rights Practice in Argentina and Latin America: Seminar: One Credit
The course will critique case studies, invite guest speakers in the field of human rights, and entail occasional field trips to examine and assess human rights advocacy initiatives in Latin America, with a focus on Argentina. Between five and eight Argentine law students from the University of Palermo will also be admitted to the course (taught in conjunction with the graduate program at Palermo). Harvard Law School (HLS) will not charge any fees other than regular tuition costs for the 2011-2012 academic year to those students who participate in this program. Academic credit will be awarded in the fall semester after the summer course is completed (Fall 2011).
Overview: This seminar introduces students to the history and continuing challenges of human rights advocacy in Latin America, with a focus on the Southern Cone and, in particular, Argentina. Several guest speakers will participate in the seminar sessions, presenting case studies in advocacy. In addition, over the course of the summer, students will visit locales identified in the case studies to meet with those directly affected by situations of rights abuse and advocacy.
Logistics: The course will be taught primarily in English, but, as noted above passive fluency in Spanish will be required. Much of the reading will be in Spanish. The seminar will meet once a week, for six sessions, each for two hours (for a total of 12 class hours) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A number of students roughly equal to those from HLS will be admitted from the graduate program at the University of Palermo, Buenos Aires. A professor from the University of Palermo will serve as a facilitator of discussions in the seminar. This facilitator and the Palermo students will be permitted to participate in the course in Spanish, but will be required to be fluent in English. HLS students will participate, both in oral interventions and in written submissions, in English (or, should they prefer, Spanish).
Course Summary: The seminar will provide an overview and critique of the development of the human rights movement in Latin America, considering its basis in grass roots communities, political activism, and pro-democracy struggles against military dictatorships and toward democratization. The seminar will assess the movement's more recent growth and professionalization. Over the course of the summer, we will evaluate a wide range of advocacy strategies, including domestic and international litigation, documentation and report writing, as well as grassroots mobilization and media campaigns. Several guests-all activists and scholars involved in particular advocacy campaigns-will be invited over the course of the summer. Seminar sessions will involve analysis of the work of local rights organizations and of students, who will be asked to draw on their experience in their summer human rights internships in class discussion.
Course Requirements: Required readings for each week will consist of approximately 100 pages of selected texts on human rights in Latin America in either English or Spanish. Students will be required to draft and submit four brief reflection papers (500-750 words each, roughly 2-3 double spaced pages). The papers will critique the course readings, advocacy campaigns examined during the summer, and the human rights work of students themselves over the course of their placement periods. Grading will be based on these papers and class participation in the seminar.
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