Centre faculty offer several undergraduate modules that are open to students in Law, Politics, and possibly other departments.
Autumn term and Spring term
The overarching question this module seeks to answer is: what is the place of human rights in making the world a safer and fairer place?
The focus of the Autumn Term is on the international human rights system. The global human rights movement is introduced alongside legal architectures, defining human rights in different ways. Contemporary debates around issues such as humanitarian intervention, deportation and torture reveal tensions within human rights and between national and international interests.
The Spring Term moves on to consider the role that human rights could play in issues that are set to define the 21st century: climate change, food security, and the emergence of new, biologically-based technologies. Three broad themes recur throughout the module: (1) power versus norms, and politics versus law (the realism-constructivism debate); (2) international versus national (the debate between cosmopolitanism and state sovereignty); and (3) law versus practice (the challenge of implementation).
This module explores the political and legal responses to migration with a particular emphasis on how it impacts daily life in York.
Almost half a million migrants enter the United Kingdom every year; a similar number of UK citizens decide to emigrate to other countries every year. Locally and globally the laws and policies which govern the movement of people from one country to another are becoming increasingly important. These laws and policies are made at the local, national and international levels and affect much more than travel – they also affect: whom you can employ, how much tax you pay, whom your classmates are, where and who you can marry, and the type of remedy you can get if your rights are violated.
The module will begin by examining the development of migration controls and the related concepts of British nationality and (European) citizenship. It will then explore exceptions to migration control, both de jure (in the form of the protection of refugees and victims of trafficking) as well as de facto (the phenomenon of irregular migration). The module will conclude by examining various models for a borderless world that have been suggested (as well as partially implemented in a number of locations). The module attempts to go beyond the question of "how do we regulate migration?" by also asking "why?"
This course examines the ethical, legal, and political dilemmas of humanitarian action and inaction, and then considers key case studies: Rwanda, Kosovo, Iraq, Darfur, and Libya.
In 1992, the United States and United Nations went to war in Somalia for humanitarian reasons: to stop brutal warlords from interfering with the delivery of food and medicine to thousands of Somali refugees. For a brief moment, it looked as though moral considerations had finally triumphed over principles of state sovereignty and narrow definitions of national self-interest. Then came Black Hawk Down and the killing of 18 American soldiers.
A year later, the United States and the international community stood on the sidelines as at least half a million civilians were massacred in Rwanda. Afterwards, humanitarian agencies promptly delivered aid to refugee camps controlled by the genocidal killers who had fled Rwanda. Suddenly, the humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality led to complicity with the killers and their attempts to destabilize post-genocide Rwanda.
Humanitarian interventions have led inexorably to long-term peacekeeping and state building. We look at how successful these efforts have been in Kosovo and what lessons they offer for future interventions. We consider how the war in Iraq reshaped the debate about humanitarian action. Finally, we consider whether Libya marks a return to the heyday of liberal interventionism.