The modules designed for the program in Global Rights Studies provide students with unique, responsible, and timely approaches to the critical study and support of persons’ and peoples’ rights within a global context. They are both prepared in recognition of the fact that most universalist principles, laws, and approaches to protect rights, paradoxically and typically, are exclusionary in character. These proposed modules resist the study of rights in a contained or determined sense, as is the case when conceived in the form of “human rights.” From this position, these modules offer students opportunities to study how the rights of persons, particularly those of individuals and groups who experience marginalisation or exclusion in rights protection and respect for their rights claims, face contested politics of claiming and asserting autonomy, rights, and self–determination on world–wide bases. It is a program of study into the inevitable struggle for the right to rights.
From this approach, students working their ways through the modules in the Global Rights Studies program engage in forms of study characteristic of modules offered by CGS. The modules involve students in fundamentally interdisciplinary studies, situated in a variety of contexts, provoking engaged and critically–oriented scholarship and thinking. Through each of these modules, students: explore historical and theoretical traditions through which discourses of rights are mobilised; examine the power relations under which rights discourses are formed and supported; examine historical and contemporary conditions under which the universalisms of modern rights discourses undermine the autonomy and self–determination of specific individuals and groups of persons; study key political and legal contexts in which the claims to rights recognition and protection are at stake; examine social rights movements; give focus to the specific social and political struggles for women’s rights and the feminist approaches from which their leverage is gained; give focus to the relation between rights claims and the geopolitics of citizenship and problems of migration; and give focus to the specific politics of rights at stake in claims to autonomy and self–determination made by Indigenous peoples.
The Specialization module offers students the opportunity to study this full range of topics and problems. The Honors Specialization module makes available the same range of study, while also providing students with substantial options for independent research learning opportunities, experiential learning opportunities, and the development of longer advanced research projects in the contexts of fourth–year honors seminars or an honors thesis.