Human and Civil Rights Classes with Dr. Clayborne Carson

“For rights to be human rights, all humans everywhere in the world must possess them equally and only because of their status as human beings.”
Lynn Hunt, Inventing Human Rights

The course “The Elusive Ideal of Global Human Rights,” developed by Dr. Clayborne Carson and Dr. Mira Foster, is a collection of thirteen lessons tracing the origins and evolution of universal human rights. Each lesson includes a leading question/ theme, primary sources, and a short video with the highlights from our classroom discussion.

Session 01: Enlightenment and Revolutions

Main Themes:

Enlightenment; Revolutions; Old Continent vs. New Colonies; Colonial Demands for Independence

Session 02. The Question of Slavery

Main Themes:

The Question of Slavery; Nascent age of industrialization.

Session 03: Abolitionist Movement and the US Civil War

Main Themes:

Abolitionists Movement; Civil War and political and moral evolution of Abraham Lincoln.

Session 04: Reconstruction

Main Themes:

After the Civil War: Passage of the 13-15 Amendments; Reconstruction

Session 05. Colonialism and the 1884 Berlin Conference

Main Themes:

The Berlin Conference of 1884-5 and its consequences.

Session 06: Young Mohandas Gandhi in South Africa

Main Themes:

Imperialism; Mohandas Gandhi and his experiences in South Africa.

Session 07: Assimilations vs. Agitation, U.S. in the 19th Century

Main Themes:

United States at the turn of the 19th century; W.E.B. DuBois, Booker T Washington

Session 08. Women’s Rights

Main Themes:

Women's Suffrage Movement in the U.S.

Session 09: Great Migration/Harlem Renaissance

Main Themes:

The 1920s in the United States; The Great Migration

Session 10: Great Depression/ Communism

Main Themes:

Great Depression; Communism

Session 11. WWII and the Universal Declaration of Human Right

Main Themes:

The 1940s, World War II, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Session 12: Universal Declaration of Human Right

Main Themes:

Review of the evolution of the human rights idea, from the era of enlightenment to the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Session 13: Review: How did we get here? Where are we today in human history?

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