ENGLISH 407 - Topics in English Language and Literature
Fall 2021, Section 001 - Literature and Human Rights
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


This course introduces students to key texts and debates at the intersection of global works of literature and international human rights. Increased recognition of universal rights for all human beings is broadly understood to be one of the most important moral and political developments of the last century. In turn, many scholars have contended that a belief in human rights is grounded in the reading and writing of literature. To test these claims, students in this class work with literary texts as a means of investigating the historical origins, present challenges, and potential future of human rights as a framework for global justice and human flourishing.

Course themes include the meaning and definition of the “human,” the ethics and politics of human/animal distinction, the role of literature in processes of truth and reconciliation, the value of emotions such as sympathy and empathy, the history and literature of refugees, and role of varying genres (the graphic novel, speculative fiction) in the representation or human rights issues. Novels by J.M. Coetzee (South Africa), Marjane Satrapi (France-Iran), Michael Ondaatje (Canada-Sri Lanka), Chris Cleave (UK), and Octavia Butler (USA), will be read alongside work by Hannah Arendt, Ishmael Beah, Rohinton Mistry, and Franz Kafka.


ENGLISH 407 - Topics in English Language and Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM
002 (SEM)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
003 (SEM)
 In Person
Tu 1:00PM - 4:00PM

Textbooks/Other Materials

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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