The Human Rights and Social Justice program at Carleton studies historical and contemporary human rights and social justice issues and their impact on human lives in different contexts. These courses are interdisciplinary, drawing from multiple disciplines from the humanities and social science, but also examine issues through paradigms that transcend individual disciplines. Our program has flexible pathways and is offered as a General, Honours, and Combined Honours program. Our program is staffed by a team of dedicated faculty renowned for academic expertise, human rights activism, and passion for supporting students.
Human rights contribute, through theory and practice, to people’s struggles to overcome institutional and everyday inequities. Our program equips students with legal, social and political tools and strategies for challenging forms of discrimination, subjugation and persecution, such as those based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or political opinion, as well as historical practices of colonialism and exploitation.
The program draws from a wide range of interdisciplinary topics and approaches from the humanities and social sciences such as; law, political science, philosophy, gender studies, indigenous studies, and disability studies to provide an understanding of historical and contemporary human rights issues and their impact on human lives in different cultural contexts.
Our program offers students an opportunity to examine and critically assess the various strategies and mechanisms that have been used nationally and internationally to address these issues, including social movements, domestic legislation, international statutes and human rights declarations and conventions.
As well, our program will look at reporting requirements, treaty-monitoring bodies and human rights committees. Students will also have opportunities to discuss and evaluate the challenges and prospects for strengthening human rights and for meeting future challenges to advance equality and social justice.
The primary goal for Human Rights and Social Justice at Carleton is to advance an interdisciplinary approach to understanding Human Rights and Social Justice throughout the world. Students will leave our program with a wealth of knowledge that will enable them to succeed in their future endeavors whether that be in a profession or continuing to pursue further education. Human Rights and Social Justice begins by teaching students necessary skills and knowledge to help them develop a holistic understanding of Human Rights and Social Justice, and later in the program students are encouraged to explore and learn about specific areas that they are interested in. Carleton’s Human Rights and Social Justice program is comprehensive and enables students to study human rights through five dimensions: Critical Principles; Human Rights Laws and Institutions; Political Repression; Social Justice; and Marginalized Groups. Students are required to take various courses in Human Rights and Social Justice, Law, Philosophy, and Political Science; however, they must also take electives from some of the following categories; Anthropology, History, Indigenous Studies, Sociology, Social Work, Sexuality Studies, and Women and Gender Studies.
Skills and Knowledge you will gain from Human Rights and Social Justice
1) Demonstrate strong abilities to apply different perspectives on human rights nationally and internationally, including the recognition of instances where human rights are used to justify inequalities and injustices.
2) Analyze issues related to human rights as an interdisciplinary object of study that has emerged out of historical and contemporary local/global struggles.
3) Engage responsibly in human rights advocacy in Canada and globally.
4) Appraise and interpret contemporary debates related to the interconnection of social, economic, civil, political and cultural rights.
5) Develop and conduct feasible research projects in the field of human rights.
6) Critically assess and evaluate arguments and how they are substantiated.
7) Demonstrate an ability to engage ethically while working with people from diverse backgrounds.
8) Show competent oral communication skills, demonstrating a capacity to clearly and convincingly express ideas and arguments with attention to audience needs.
9) Show competent written communication skills, demonstrating a capacity to clearly and convincingly express ideas and arguments with attention to audience needs.
10) Develop professional skills, including organizational skills, interpersonal skills, seeking and responding to feedback (practicum and independent study options are available).