Junior Seminar: Transitional Justice

Fall 2015
Tu 2-4
202 Barrows
Course Description

This interdisciplinary course explores the different approaches taken by individual countries and the international community to violations of international human rights. It focuses in particular on the challenges raised by the demand for accountability during periods of political transition, as countries move from authoritarian regimes and civil wars to societies based on democracy and the rule of law. It examines current principles of accountability as well as the various mechanisms for enforcing these principles, including truth and reconciliation commissions, international criminal tribunals, legal actions by third-party countries under the theory of universal jurisdiction, “lustration” laws that bar perpetrators of human rights abuses from holding public office, and reparations for victims of human rights violations. The course also considers the obstacles to achieving accountability for international human rights violations, including domestic political instability, national amnesty laws, institutional weaknesses, and geopolitical concerns.

The Junior Seminars are intense writing seminars which focus on the research area of the faculty member teaching the course. The seminars will provide an opportunity for students to have direct intellectual interactions with faculty members while also giving the students an understanding for faculty research.

Junior seminars fulfill upper division requirements for the major.

Subfield:   International Relations

Students who have taken Professor Silverberg's junior seminar "Accountability for International Human Rights Violations" in the past (last offered Fall 2012) cannot take this seminar as it has the same content with just a different title.


Political Science Majors of Junior and Senior status (must be 3rd or 4th year students with at least 60 units completed) with a minimum overall UC GPA of 3.3.  Students must place themselves on the waitlist through TeleBEARS in Phase II. Priority may be given to students who have not yet taken a junior seminar.  Selection and notification will occur early August 2015