Each Research Cluster should explore a specific human rights issue and the public contestation around that issue in more detail, devise at least one possible intervention and give a short presentation to the class on the topic at the end of the quarter. 

Each cluster should:

  1. Identify a broad human rights issue and one concrete case (to the extent possible) where the issue is being contested today.
  2. Identify the historical development of the issue being contested, including details of the context of your specific case.
  3. Identify the philosophical/theoretical positions and organization(s), stakeholder(s), and social movement(s) involved in that contestation today.  Feel free to actively engage as a cluster with organizations involved in your topic.
  4. Consider how that contestation currently plays out in media and public culture.
  5. Consider strategies for how to intervene in and/or create public(s) around your issue from the position of a human rights advocate. 
  6. Implement at least one specific intervention, generating some sort of “text” (imagined broadly, so it could be a performance, a radio show, a poster, etc. – it doesn’t have to be composed of actual text). One option is to submit something to a student media outlet (Husky Herald, UWave, Clamor; etc.). 
  7. You should also write a short paragraph or two (approximately half a page to one page, single-spaced) that elaborates on why you chose this particular strategy and how you chose to implement it. Submit both this short explanation and the “text” itself along with your final paper (below) on Canvas by the due date for research cluster materials.

For your cluster presentation:

  1. Cover the tasks outlined in the section above in one way or another. The presentation should last between 10-15 minutes. This could take the form of a PowerPoint with one slide for each issue, with either pre-recorded voice-over or live presentation. But you can choose another presentational style – you can construct it how you wish, but make sure the class can identify each of the issues in section one.
  2. Short video clips or other media are acceptable; using half your time with a video is not.
  3. Your primary concern in this assignment is your classmates’ learning regarding the information you’re presenting, not showing the professor how much work you’ve done.
  4. Discuss with the instructor any questions or concerns you may have.
  5. Your Cluster Facilitation will be assessed on the ability of the group to facilitate learning for the rest of the class about the broad contours of power playing out within public discourse regarding your chosen human rights issue and case.

For your research cluster paper

  1. Clearly outline each of the tasks in the first section above, including a report on your cluster’s intervention into the issue.
  2. In preparation for this paper, I would encourage you to work collaboratively with others in your cluster.  All or part of your cluster can choose to write the paper collectively, or you can choose to write the paper individually.  But one word to the wise – it is usually much more difficult to write well as a group than individually.
  3. Make sure your paper is a minimum of seven pages, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, reasonable margins.  
  4. There is no maximum; as long as you are writing concisely, I’m happy to read what you provide.
  5. Feel free to use any of the major writing style guides (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.)
  6. Your paper will be assessed on your ability to communicate in writing a clear understanding of both the historical trajectory and the current status of the contestation surrounding your chosen human rights issue, and in particular how that issue interacts with media and public discourse (the themes of the class).  In this explication, it should also be clear why your cluster chose the particular intervention that it did, both theoretically and practically.  


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