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Making Human Rights Work




Admissions requirements

Introduction to Socio-Legal Studies.


This course generally examines issues concerning the proliferation and effectiveness of human rights. In doing so, the course concentrates on the Global South. The course takes a multilevel approach, combining a focus on the local level, with an analysis of dynamics that occur at the national and global level. As such the course explores how people get access to justice in their own towns and villages and examines how these dynamics interact with national and international processes. The course examines how transnational actors and international organizations promote, support, or otherwise facilitate claims-making processes related to human rights. The course thus brings together themes and approaches from other LUC-courses, notably those in the Human Rights & Society track of the International Justice major. Overall, the course will help students better understand under what conditions and in what ways human rights can become effective tools for citizens in improving their lives.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • Explain the formation of human rights and the interaction between processes at local, national and supranational level;

  • Explain which roles human rights play in different social contexts, notably in societies where customary and religious law are important;

  • Illustrate the relevance of access to justice theories for promoting human rights;

  • Assess strengths and weaknesses of strategies to promote social justice via the casting of social and political problems into human rights language;

  • Devise strategies for promoting particular human rights, using theories related to the diffusion and ‘spiraling down’ of human rights;

  • Evaluate the pros and cons of indicators for measuring human rights.

Students will gain the following practical skills from taking this course:

  • Oral advocacy skills

  • Ability to organize and chair a debate

  • Academic paper writing

  • Ability to work effectively in a group


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction




There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

The required and recommended reading will be listed in the course syllabus and will be made available on blackboard.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Education Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Janine Ubink