Courses in Civil and Human Rights

Courses Page

Whether you are enrolled in a Klau Institute program or looking to round out another area of study, these courses will help you explore civil and human rights as a cornerstone of your Notre Dame education.

Learn about the Klau Institute Minor

Courses for Spring 2023

CHR 30721: US Civil Rights in History and Law

Generic Round

This course traces the contested and ongoing history of civil rights in the US from the founding period to the present: how the Civil War and the end of slavery made civil rights in the US possible; how international human rights and civil rights in the US have interacted over time; how the complicated relationship between the definition of civil rights and the realization of these rights played out over time; and how the tensions between the federal government and the states continue to shape civil rights down to the present. The course examines how the meaning of citizenship and civil rights, who constituted a citizen, and what institutions—state and local government, private individuals, and so on—posed the biggest threat to equal treatment under the law changed over time.

Crosslisted With: KSGA 30709, section 01
Crosslisted With: GLAF 30116, section 01


CHR 30715: Introduction to International Human Rights

Generic Round

Are human rights modern inventions or are they as old as humankind? Are they universal or culturally specific? How much progress, if any, has transnational human rights advocacy achieved? How and to what extent should human rights influence foreign policy? What are the advantages and disadvantages of encoding human rights in international law? By examining these and similar questions, this course initiates students in the study of international human rights. In addition to informative readings, intriguing podcasts, and interactive lectures the course features in-class debates on the most pressing human rights problems.

Crosslisted With: KSGA 30203, section 01
Crosslisted With: IIPS 30327, section 01


CHR 30712: Black Political Thought

Generic Round

This course will focus on the writings of Black political thinkers in the Americas, Africa, and Europe. Through critical examination of the conditions against, and contexts within, which the political theories of these thinkers are situated, this course hopes to arrive at some understanding of the principles, goals and strategies developed to contest and redefine notions/concepts of citizenship (vis-a-vis the imperatives of race/racism and the global colonial formations), humanity, justice, equality, development, democracy, and freedom.

Crosslisted With: AFST 30682, section 01
Crosslisted With: CNST 30644, section 01
Crosslisted With: HESB 30375, section 01
Crosslisted With: IIPS 30316, section 01


CHR 30722: American Slavery

Generic Round

This course provides an introduction to the history of American slavery. After examining the origins and transformation of Atlantic world slavery, the course focuses particularly on slavery in the United States. Between the American Revolution and the Civil War, the United States grew into the largest slaveholding society in the modern world. U.S. slavery's growth was driven forward by massive global economic transformations and territorial conquest. Yet, in the face of unprecedented violence, enslaved people themselves brought about the end of slavery and transformed the meaning of freedom in the United States. This course focuses on this history from the perspective of enslaved people themselves with particular attention to struggles for freedom.

Crosslisted With: AFST 30232, section 01
Crosslisted With: AMST 30992, section 01
Crosslisted With: HIST 30633, section 01
Crosslisted With: ILS 30413, section 01
Crosslisted With: IIPS 30329, section 01


CHR 30723: Health and Disability Justice

Generic Round

Although advances in science and technology have made tremendous gains in promoting health and longevity, these achievements have not been experienced evenly. Instead, devastating health and disability-based inequities persist. As a result, social movement groups and organizations are fighting to protect vulnerable communities and promote civil rights. This class will address how social movements have impacted the health and human rights of vulnerable social groups in the US and beyond today. We will use a sociological perspective to investigate the structural determinants of health and the social construction of disabilities, and investigate how advocates, activists, and organizations fight for good health and disability justice.

Crosslisted With: SOC 40555, section 01
Crosslisted With: HESB 40118, section 01
Crosslisted With: HHS 40555, section 01
Crosslisted With: IIPS 40519, section 01



CHR 30724: Unequal America

Generic Round

America is the richest country in the world and yet roughly three million American children now grow up in families surviving on just $2 a day. As America's richest 0.1% have seen their incomes more than quadruple over the last forty years, the incomes for 90% of Americans have barely changed. These financial disparities reflect deeper inequities in educational opportunity, incarceration rates, social status and more. In this course, we will examine the nature and consequences of American inequality. What is the meaning of meritocracy in an age of profound inequality? What is the lived experience of American poverty and American privilege? How are race and gender inequalities (re)produced throughout the life course?

Crosslisted With: SOC 43839, section 01
Crosslisted With: SOC 43839, section 02
Crosslisted With: HESB 43524, section 01
Crosslisted With: ILS 43712, section 02
Crosslisted With: HHS 43839, section 01
Crosslisted With: SOC 43839, section 03
Crosslisted With: IIPS 43505, section 01


CHR 30725: God & Slavery in the Americas

Generic Round

The dispossession and enslavement of non-Europeans in the colonization of the Americas was justified by Christians but also condemned by Christians with different economic and political interests. This development course in theology introduces students to the challenging intersection of faith, slavery, and freedom by exploring key figures, events, and movements that have shaped the complex historical legacy of Christianity in the Americas, a hemispheric past that remains ever bound together. In addition to Christianity's role in colonial expansion and racial ideology, the course especially considers how lived faith in God provided a catalyst for the empowerment and resistance of the oppressed and their advocates in shared struggles to attain greater social justice, racial equality, and political autonomy.

Crosslisted With: THEO 20674, section 01
Crosslisted With: AFST 20302, section 01
Crosslisted With: ILS 20812, section 01
Crosslisted With: THEO 20674, section 02
Crosslisted With: IIPS 20511, section 01


CHR 30726: Racial Justice in America

Generic Round

Racial Justice in America is focused on the historic and current impact of racial injustice and the urgency of the work of racial justice today. Racial Justice in America will invite course participants to consider how the stories of the struggle for racial justice in the United States shapes our imaginations for the work of racial justice today. The centerpiece of this course is a required spring break immersion to major civil rights locations in the South. Additionally, students will read/reflect on how we tell the stories of racism in the United States and will create their own narrative/reflective account of their experience with racism and the civil rights movement sites.

Crosslisted With: CSC 33304, section 01
Crosslisted With: ILS 33805, section 01


CHR 30727: Race and Film

Generic Round

This course examines representations of race, ethnicity, and ideology in the American cinema through a sociological lens. We will focus on understanding how film reflects and directs prevailing cultural norms and attitudes surrounding racial and ethnic relations. Our goal is to uncover how racial and ethnic relations are reified on the silver screen through storytelling techniques such as narrative, style, aesthetics, and mise en scène. We will analyze the sociological context of each film to better understand the evolution of cinematic representations of race and ethnicity and what they mean for race relations and inequality in the broader society.

Crosslisted With: SOC 20881, section 01
Crosslisted With: AFST 20709, section 01
Crosslisted With: ILS 20703, section 01
Crosslisted With: IIPS 20512, section 01



CHR 30728: Latinos in the Future of America

Generic Round

This course will examine the opportunities and challenges facing Latino communities today as they simultaneously transform and are transformed by their continuing growth in U.S. society. Through a careful examination of the biographies of leaders in Latino communities, we will examine what role they have each played in empowering Latino communities to advance in business, arts, education, community organizing, entertainment, medicine, religion, law, academia, politics, and other areas.

Crosslisted With: ILS 43501, section 01
Crosslisted With: AMST 30463, section 01
Crosslisted With: POLS 30136, section 01
Crosslisted With: HESB 43889, section 01


CHR 43001: Global Affairs Capstone Seminar

Generic Round

This course is designed for students who are completing the Supplementary Major in Global Affairs and is primarily intended to achieve three objectives: (1) give students an opportunity to conduct independent research; (2) provide students with guidance and support in completing their capstone research project; and (3) bring student research into dialogue with trends in the field of Global Affairs. Although each student will work on his/her/their own project, we will move, as a group, through the normal stages of a project and contribute in meaningful ways to each other's work.