Hauptseminar: Ausgewählte Themen der Internationalen Beziehungen: The Politics of Human Rights (IB) (HWS 2013)

Instructor: Anita Gohdes


This course offers an introduction to contemporary empirical human rights research. Focusing primarily on physical integrity violations (such as killings, imprisonment, torture and disappearance), this course will cover the most prominent theories that attempt to explain why, where and when human rights violations are perpetrated across the world. Among others, we will cover rationalist as well as structuralist explanations, and look at the relationship between political regimes, civil and international conflict, legal norms and foreign aid and the respect or disrespect for human rights.

This course will place a strong emphasis on how human rights violations can be recorded and quantified; thereby investigating how scientific research on repression can provide evidence-based facts to the international human rights community.


Davenport, Christian (2007) ‘State repression and political order’, Annual Review of Political Science, 10: 1-23

Carey, Sabine, Gibney, Mark and Poe, Steven C. (2010) The Politics of Human Rights. Cambridge Univeristy Press.

Landman, Todd and Carvalho, Edzia (2009) Measuring Human Rights. Routledge

Course requirements

Course requirements include regular attendance, active class participation, a class presentation, a short literature critique, and a research paper.

Dates and Times: Wednesdays 08:30-10:00 (weekly), Room: A 5, 6 Bauteil B – B 244