D.C. Human Rights Seminar

STUDY HUMAN RIGHTS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

2022 Schedule—

UW Bothell: September 8th & 9th from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Washington D.C. (Intensive Seminars & Briefings): September 12th - 16th

The Capitol Building in Washington D C

The Washington, D.C. Human Rights Seminar (BIS 403) is a part of the human rights emphasis in the Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences program. The course has been a part of the curriculum since 1990 and focuses on the construction of human rights policy at the national and international levels, with a particular emphasis on engaging with the policy-making process in Washington, D.C.

For Autumn 2022, the seminar is tentatively planned to be taught in person in Washington D.C., but it is quite possible that the course will need to be taught over Zoom instead due to COVID-19 and housing availability. We strongly encourage students to apply regardless of whether they would be interested solely in an in-person or online (or either) format.

Students spend a week in the U.S. Capital, meeting with legislators, federal agencies (such as the Department of Defense and the Department of State), human rights NGOs, foreign embassies, and think tanks to investigate human rights violations and possible policy responses. The course will study United States human rights policy, its formation, articulation, and effects on countries and peoples around the world. Our approach will be interdisciplinary with an emphasis on how power is produced, distributed, and consumed within the policy process. Attention will also be given to the philosophical, historical, cultural, and economic aspects of human rights and the human rights movement in the modern era. The course will promote the analytical skills associated with original research in the policy process. This course also satisfies the Interdisciplinary Practice and Reflection (IPR) requirement.

 

THE INSTRUCTOR

Ron Krabill is a professor in the School of IAS, teaching across Human Rights, Media Studies, Cultural Studies, and African Studies, and he is the co-director of the MA in Cultural Studies and co-director of the UWB Global Scholars Program. He also teaches study abroad courses on the politics of soccer at the UW Center in León, Spain.  His research focuses on media and politics in South Africa, critical pedagogy in international education, and discourses of global citizenship and reciprocity in global collaborations. He holds a BA in Communication and Peace and Conflict Studies from Goshen College and an MA and PhD in Sociology and Historical Studies from the New School for Social Research. Professor Krabill is also on the Advisory Board of the UW Center for Human Rights, and he has been teaching in the Washington DC program since 2003.

 

OVERVIEW

  1. Meet & Greet in late May.
  2. Reading in August and early September.
  3. Mandatory two full-day workshops: Sep. 8th & 9th from 8am to 5pm
  4. Five extensive days of seminars and briefings in D.C.: Sep. 12th - 16th
  5. A policy research paper is due in early December (TBD).
  6. The presentation of your research to UW Bothell community in a poster session (TBD).

SCHEDULE

Date Event

May 6th

Application Due (Online)

Mid-May

Final Selection of Participants Notified

Late May / Early June

Meet & Greet: 5:30pm-7:30pm

Sept. 8th & 9th

Mandatory two Full-day Workshop: 8:00am to 5:00pm 

Sept. 12th-16th

Seminars & Briefings in Washington D.C.

  • Participants must be available for the whole week.
  • Meetings may start at 7am to accommodate guest speakers from D.C., and the debriefing may end at 6pm or later.

Dec. TBD

Policy Research Paper Due

Dec. TBD

Poster Session & Human Rights Day Celebration

Candles in a ring of barbed wire, symbol of human rights and hopeCOURSE THEME

Human rights have emerged in the last 60 years as a critical normative dimension of international politics and policy. This course will examine the underlying philosophical, political, and social assumptions of human rights, especially in the context of public policy in U.S. institutions.  Students will engage questions such as the following: What is the relation between international human rights and domestic U.S. rights? Who are the main actors—governmental, non-governmental—who set human rights policy? What are the current issues that challenge the human rights agenda in U.S. domestic and foreign policy?  

 

 

THE D.C. EXPERIENCE

During the trip students will be staying in University-provided housing. During their time in D.C. Students will be engaged in intensive seminars and briefings with a variety of institutions and policy makers at a variety of levels. During the day we’ll walk and use Washington’s excellent subway system to visit the Pentagon, the State Department, Congressional offices, and policy institutions of various political orientations. For example, we may attend briefings at institutions such as the Friends Committee on National Legislation (the “Quaker Lobby”), Amnesty International, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the United Nations, the Heritage Foundation, the Brookings Institution, and hear from a long and distinguished list of lobbyists and activists. The week is an intense group experience and students will need to be ready to focus and engage for the entire time. There will be very little spare time for sightseeing; it is strongly recommended that students who wish to do so extend their stay in the city. 

 

"Going on the Washington, D.C. Human Rights Seminar completely changed me. Having the opportunity to meet with many different government officials to talk about current issues affecting the United States as well as other countries is something I will never forget. We also had the opportunity to meet with a number of nonprofit human rights agencies to learn about their perspectives and work being done. This experience led me to look at myself as a citizen in the United States, as well as my county as a whole, in a completely different way and has made me more passionate about public policy. I would do this program again in heart beat if given the option because this is truly one of those experiences you walk away from as a completely different person."
-Heidi Hannah ('16, Global Studies)

 

Read D.C. Seminar alumni stories
Washington D.C. subway

Applications

  1. BIS 403 Course Application

Please contact Monique Taylor (motay93@uw.edu) with any questions.