Research Cluster – Human Rights

Human rights has become a topic of increasing interest both here and abroad. With the global expansion of democracy, the formation of an international criminal court, the search for truth about past injustices in countless countries, and on going trials of tyrants and perpetrators of genocide, human rights is now a subject that stirs passionate discussion and debate. It is also one of the core strengths of the Political Science Department at U.C. Riverside. Our Department offers a number of courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels that address important dimensions of human rights, including the birth and evolution of human rights concepts, the regulation of human rights in international and domestic law, factors associated with the violation of human rights by regimes or institutions, respect for human rights in the course of international negotiations, and the role of advocacy networks in advancing human rights. Substantively, these courses canvass human rights issues, ranging from human security to women’s rights. Graduate Students may develop a cognate minor in the field of human rights by choosing among the seminars listed below, by finding relevant courses outside the Department, or some combination of the two. Several members of our faculty conduct research and publish in this area and links to publications may be found below. The Department is in the process of putting together a film and lecture series on human rights related themes, and is working toward the development of a Center on Human Rights. For more information on this subject, contact David Pion-Berlin at ext. 24606 or


Bronwyn Leebaw has taught courses in international politics, human rights, political theory and feminist theory. Her current research interests include: movements for international and transitional justice, the relationship between international human rights and humanitarianism, and education reform in war-torn countries. She has received grants from the UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies and the Institute for the Study of World Politics and has published in Polity, Human Rights and Human Welfare, the American Journal of Comparative Law and Contemporary Justice Review.

David Pion-Berlin is a Latin Americanist widely known for his work on civil-military relations, military regimes, military political thought, security, political repression and human rights. His early research centered on the causes of political repression, and more recently on human rights inquests and trials in the Latin American Southern Cone and Europe. He is the author of human rights related articles in Comparative Political Studies, the Journal of Latin American Studies and Human Rights Quarterly. He teaches courses on tyrannies, the military and human rights violations.

List of Courses


  • 111- Democracy and Social Contract [Syllabus]
  • 112 – Modern Political Theory [Syllabus]
  • 124 – Conflict Resolution
  • 127 – Global Environmental Politics [Syllabus]
  • 135 – Ethics and International Politics [Syllabus]
  • 150 – Human Rights Theory, Law and Politics [Syllabus]
  • 157 – Modern Tyrannies [Syllabus]
  • 159 – The Armed Forces, Human Rights, and Politics [Syllabus]


  • 206 – Environmental Policy and Law
  • 267 – Ethics and International Politics [Syllabus]
  • 268 – Human Rights [Syllabus]
  • 274 – The Armed Forces and Politics [Syllabus]

Select Publications

  • Bronwyn Leebaw. 2011. Judging State-Sponsored Violence, Imagining Political Change (Cambridge University Press).
  • Bronwyn Leebaw. 2005. Human Rights Investigation & Dialogue.” Human Rights and Human Welfare 5:71-80. [Paper]
  • Bronwyn Leebaw. 2003. “Legitimation or Judgment? South Africa’s Restorative Approach to Transitional Justice.” Polity 34(1):23-51.
  • David Pion-Berlin. 2004. “The Pinochet Case and Human Rights Progress in Chile: Was Europe a Catalyst, Cause or Inconsequential?” Journal of Latin American Studies 36(3): 479-505. [Paper]
  • David Pion-Berlin and Craig Arceneaux. 1998. “Tipping the Civil-Military Balance: Institutions and Human Rights Policy in Argentina and Chile.” Comparative Political Studies 31(5): 633-661.


NGOs, Research Centers & the United Nations

International Law

Data Sources