The content of this course changes from year to year reflecting the strengths of faculty or the scholar occupying the Chair in Canadian Citizenship and Human Rights. This Special Topics course 'Political Rights and Their Limits' will explore the scope of supporting rights that directly affect the work of human rights advocates and human rights defenders in a campaigning context. We will take a close look at the five main sets of political rights: expression, association/organization, assembly/protest, participation/voting, and the human right of resistance.

This course introduces and critically analyzes the theory of human rights as a framework for social justice, from a variety of perspectives. It will also examine various critiques of the theory and practice of human rights.The course will cover core theoretical concepts and the major debates in human rights theory. It will not only introduce students to the main ideas, major schools of thought, and key debates but also prepare them to identify the often unspoken underlying theoretical perspectives employed in human rights discourse by scholars and advocates. Its underlying premise is that because human rights abuses arise from maldistribution of political, economic and social power, therefore virtually every major debate in human rights theory boils down to whether and how human rights replicates or redistributes power.

This course will examine the impact of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. After an introductory discussion of the Bill of Rights and the development of the Charter, instruction will focus on a large number of Supreme Court decisions interpreting the meaning of the Charter's provisions.

The purpose of this course is to guide students interested in writing an honours thesis through their initial research process. Students will develop a research question and thesis statement, examine their methodology, conduct a literature review and write a substantial annotated bibliography. Classes will be held throughout the term to assess progress towards the completion of the proposal. A completed thesis proposal is required before moving on in the honours program.