ENGLISH 407 - Topics in English Language and Literature
Fall 2023, Section 004 - Literature and Human Rights
Instruction Mode: Section 004 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


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
Tu 4:00PM - 7:00PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23
002 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23
004 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for ENGLISH 407 (UM login required)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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CourseProfile (Atlas)