2011-12 Catalog

Decorative graphic

Offering Description

Memory Sites, Human Rights: A Digital Archive Project


Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 quarters

Greg Mullins comparative literature, American studies
Fields of Study
American studies, law and public policy and philosophy
Preparatory for studies or careers in
human rights, philosophy, digital humanities, history, museum studies, new media studies, web design and publication, American studies and politics.

Students in this program will research human rights in Washington state for publication in the program's spring quarter continuation. The Human Rights Digital Archive is a web-based resource that aims to foster education, dialogue and critical debate about human rights. To ensure sophisticated and publishable research, the program will emphasize both the theory and practice of human rights.

Students will collaboratively design and construct this project. To do so they will pool existing talents and skills, and will develop skills as appropriate in web design, graphic design, digital media (photography, video, audio), archival research, collecting oral histories, securing permissions, writing, editing, etc.

The language of human rights evolved internationally, especially in the twentieth century, and part of our work will focus on Washington state as a translocal site, a kind of pivot between national and transnational movements and discourses and the very local level at which humans live and work. Human rights concerns in Washington state history include voting rights, civil rights, labor rights, freedom from discrimination, and many others. Our guiding questions will include: what are the origins of "rights" frameworks? How do they work as law? How do they work as politics? How do they work both internationally and locally?

In order to build an intellectual foundation capable of supporting our research, we will read widely in philosophy and theory. Our concern will be not only liberalism and the political philosophy of rights, but also the philosophy of history, memory and communication. Why and how does the state sponsor historical markers, museums and memory sites? Why and how do non-state actors produce memorial practices and memory sites? How have the Internet and digital technologies changed memorial practices, and memory itself? How do new web-based aesthetic demands shape narratives and images of history and of human rights? How can the study of aesthetics and the philosophy of art advance our critical understanding of our own Digital Archive project? Each of these theoretical questions demands serious attention in its own right, and we will devote a significant portion of our time to serious (and often difficult) texts.

Each quarter, these threads will grow progressively interlaced. Fall quarter we will study both theory and philosophy and pursue an intensive research program to gather sources, evidence, images, etc. in a specific area of human rights concern. Winter quarter we will sharpen the theoretical principles that support our digital memory project, and students will write, edit, revise, scan, Photoshop, and otherwise work on material for the project. This prepares students for a linked spring quarter program that will focus on production.

This program requires enthusiasm for collaborating in groups, the ability to offer and receive critique, a willingness to turn one's research over to others for rewriting, editing and transformation, the flexibility to promote debate about human rights (rather than to grind ideological axes), and devotion to the principle that scholarship can provide public service of enduring value. The theoretical strands of inquiry will likewise require serious dedication. We seek a dedicated cohort who will commit to this project for the academic year.

Online Learning
Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online
Greener Store
Required Fees
$200 per quarter for field trip costs.
Research Possibilities
Collaborative research is essential to the program.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
July 6th, 2011 Greg Mullins will be teaching Human Rights and Wrongs.