Printable Version

Fall 2013
6389 Health & Human Rights - LUNSTROTH- 24767

Professor(s): John Lunstroth (VISITING SCHOLAR)

Credits: 3

Course Areas: Health Law 

Time: 6:00p-7:30p  MWLocation: 115 BLB 

Course Outline: This is an interdisciplinary course. It begins with readings in political/moral/legal theory about human nature, the idea of dignity, and the bases of ethical life. We then move to international law, human rights (as international legal things), the UN System, the relationship between human and US constitutional (civil) rights, and the existence and function of IGOs and NGOs/civil society [in other words, considered together, the international legal/moral order]. Then, switching gears, the course turns to the theory and practice of medicine and public health. Here readings will center on the nature of science through readings in the philosophy, history and sociology of science; and then principles and theories of public health. We will frame the understanding of the things we study in this section on the way knowledge is organized in the academy. We study science in this detail because it is incredibly influential in the political and regulatory spheres, especially in the way globalization is understood and promoted. We cannot understand the rather strange power of medicine and public health without getting a handle on the ideology of science.

We then turn to specific health & human rights legal/moral problems: torture; animal rights; intellectual property interests in drugs, devices and medical methods; migration; the “social determinants of health;” etc. We will do a class exercise in which students become familiar with a related topic, humanitarianism, and its relationship to the military and the use of armed force. We will consider in these contexts whether health is best thought of in terms of scientific medicine, in terms of self-determination, in terms of public health, or as something to do with flourishing. In which of those ideas of health is dignity and the possibility of an ethical, or virtuous, life most pronounced? If the core meaning of health is found in the way the state is constituted, then what is the best kind of state (i.e., constitution or system of laws to promote health)? Since political health is frequently thought of as justice, we will end with some readings about justice.

The grade is 30% from class participation (which include the occasional 1-pager and the class exercise); and 70% from a final exam. Instead of the final, students can write a 5,000 paper. There are no prerequisites. The course complements courses in human rights, bioethics, jurisprudence, science and the law, public health and the law, health law/policy courses, and international law.

Course Syllabus: Syllabus

Course Notes: Quota = 15/17  This is an LL.M class, and JD students may register, if space is available.


First Day Assignments: Two Concepts of Corruption pdf

Pollution Leads to Drop in Life Span pdf

Marx’s Lesson for the Muslim Brothers pdf

Final Exam Schedule: Take home or Paper      

This course will have:

Satisfies Skills Course Requirement: No
Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: No