(Spring 2020) Human Rights in Asia

IDS4930 (International Studies)
M/W/F - Period 7 (1:55-2:45)
LIT 0127 Instructor:  Dr. Timothy Karis

Since the end of World War II, the framework of human rights has dominated international discourse about social justice. This class critically investigates and applies the framework of human rights with reference to Asian countries and cultures, analyzing the tensions related to the application of universalist ideals onto culturally diverse localities. We begin with the origins of different national and global standards of human rights, including perspectives from relevant Asian belief systems. Next, we look to Asia’s 20th century history of political violence, identifying how basic rights can become eroded and how societies continue to memorialize past atrocities and seek justice and accountability. Finally, we will examine the contemporary experiences of ethnic minorities in Asia facing legal obstacles and persecution. The class draws upon case studies from Cambodia, China, Taiwan, Myanmar, Thailand, Indonesia, and elsewhere. Download the course description. Contact Dr. Tim Karis, (tkaris@ufl.edu).

(Spring 2020) Civic Engagement

IDS 2935 Section 2SB2
Tuesdays Period 3 (9:35 to 10:25) in Benton Hall room 328; Thursdays period 3-4 (9:35 to 11:30) in Keene-Flint Hall room 117.

Civic Engagement, a special Quest 2 course from the Bob Graham Center, aims to strengthen the bridge between civic knowledge and civic agency, reaching beyond traditional civics curriculum to emphasize participatory democracy and engaged citizenship. The course is built around former Florida Governor Bob Graham’s book America: The Owner’s Manual, and includes special guest lectures by co-author Chris Hand. Using a social science framework to examine and engage in a civic issue critical to Gainesville and the globe, students will explore a pressing challenge in their university community within the national and international context; pursue qualitative and quantitative research questions across disciplines including political science, public policy, history, and economics; engage with local stakeholders; become keen listeners; propose solutions; and communicate those solutions in an op-ed, public testimony, viral video, a TED-like talk or other form of public engagement. For Spring 2020, Environmental Fellow Cynthia Barnett will teach the course around the theme of Environmental Justice. Download the course description and syllabus.

(Spring 2020) U.S. Middle East Relations

AMH 3519 Class Number 23565
Tuesdays Period 7 (1:55-2:45 pm) in FLI 0119; Thursdays Period 7 and  8 (1:55-3:50 pm)
Instructor: Matt Jacobs

Few areas of the world have caused U.S. policy makers and U.S. citizens more concern over the last half century than the Middle East. We must look into the past if we are to understand the troublesome nature of U.S.-Middle East relations today. This course allows students to explore the historical context of U.S.-Middle East relations, particularly since 1945 when U.S. involvement in the region increased significantly. An underlying premise of the class is that we need to understand U.S.-Middle East relations not only in political terms, but also in cultural, economic, and social terms. Therefore, while we will of course look closely at official U.S. policy toward the Middle East and of Middle Eastern countries toward the United States, we will also look at other official and unofficial forms of relations. Cultural relations, as represented by films, cartoons, and other media, will be of particular importance. One of the objectives of any history course should be to expose students to what historians do. Many people have the misperception that history is simply remembering facts, names, dates, places, etc. To be sure, students will be learning history, but they will also be doing much more than that. History is a discipline that entails learning how to review and marshal evidence in a manner that offers insightful, fair, and well-grounded evaluations of events, issues, and people. To that end, we will read interpretive works by historians that may serve as models of how--or how not to--write good history. At the same time, students will analyze documents created by the historical actors we will be studying. Along the way, students will be thinking historically by learning to understand the past and the people who inhabited it on their own terms while also recognizing how our views of the past are shaped by our own experiences. Finally, whatever career students consider entering after college, they will need strong oral and written communication skills. The development of those skills therefore warrants substantial attention on our part. Assignments will help students improve their abilities to articulate ideas clearly and concisely.

(Fall 2019) Democratic Engagement and Public Leadership

IDS 2338 (General Education, Social Science)

Being a citizen implies a certain set of individual responsibilities that are essential to keep a democracy healthy and functioning. Fulfilling one’s role as a citizen requires engaged and informed participation. This course provides the tools and skills needed to be an effective citizen and offers opportunities for engagement and experiential learning. From the founding documents to the role of the press in politics, this course provides an understanding of how the past informs current political debate. Course Description