Imagining Human Rights: Science Fiction, Culture, and the Creation of Rights


This course engages students in the intersection of speculative fiction and the history of ideas about human rights and what it means to be human. Using interdisciplinary tools, including history, anthropology, and public policy, students will explore created worlds and new ways of thinking about what rights humans—and other beings—have, how those rights are proposed, and what happens when those rights are contested. The course focuses on how the imaginary influences or presages the real, allowing us to experiment with what-ifs. Students will work in Duke's Locus Archives of primary documents on 20th-century science fiction spanning writers from China, the USSR., and Japan.
Curriculum Codes
  • CCI
  • EI
  • W
  • ALP
Cross-Listed As
  • CULANTH 308S
  • HISTORY 196S
  • ICS 310S
  • RIGHTS 314S
Typically Offered
Spring Only