International Law & Development: Trade, Investment & Human Rights

Quick Info
(2710.04)  Course
Professor R. Buchanan
4 credit(s)  4 hour(s);
Lecture, discussions
Upper Year Research & Writing Requirement

International investment, trade and human rights are today understood as key elements of successful development policy. However, both the historical and conceptual foundations of this apparent convergence demand careful investigation. While mainstream economic thinking presumes that both investment and trade is beneficial for poor countries, critics have pointed out the terms of trade and investment treaties are typically weighted in favor of western, developed States. Similarly, while the emerging consensus that adherence to global human rights norms is necessary for the achievement of good development outcomes, the efficacy of the human rights regime as a tool for mitigating the social costs of development appears limited. Poor countries have increasingly limited regulatory tools at their disposal with which to govern the operations of transnational investors within their territory.   Conflicts frequently arise between the needs of local communities and international investors over access to land, resources, and water, leading to displacement, loss of livelihoods and other rights violations.  The role of the state in regulating these conflicts is often unclear, or in dispute.  Utilizing historical, discursive, and case study-based methodologies, this course will provide students with an opportunity to critically examine the social and human rights implications of international investment and trade within contemporary development policy and practice.  The course will incorporate a variety of pedagogical approaches including lecture, online and in class discussion, class presentations, documentary film and other interactive media, and interactive exercises.  Further details regarding the participation and presentation components of the assessment will be provided in the syllabus.  This course will satisfy the upper year writing requirement.