Spring 2023  |  PA 5890 Section 001: Topics in Foreign Policy and International Affairs -- Fact-Finding Investigations on Human Rights (65577)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Repeat Credit Limit:
15 Credits
Grading Basis:
Student Option No Audit
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
In Person Term Based
Class Attributes:
Online Course
Topics Course
Enrollment Requirements:
Grad or Masters or Law
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
01/17/2023 - 05/01/2023
Mon, Wed 01:00PM - 02:15PM
UMTC, West Bank
Hubert H Humphrey Center 35
Enrollment Status:
Open (0 of 15 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
Selected topics.
Class Notes:
Class Description:

This course will familiarize you with core principles and techniques for human rights fact-finding, focusing especially on interviews.

You'll learn practical skills, such as: planning and preparing for fact-finding interviews; navigating ethical and security challenges; tailoring interviews for specific populations; interviewing government or corporate officials; conducting remote interviews; minimizing the risk of retraumatization and vicarious trauma; and adapting fact-finding approaches for restricted or challenging locations.

This seminar uses role-play simulations as a learning tool. Most weeks, you will "learn by doing" as we spend one class session discussing topics and techniques, and the other doing role play exercises in pairs of students. After many shorter practice sessions in class, you'll do a full, in-depth mock interview with me based on a hypothetical scenario.

You will also engage with guest speakers with human rights interviewing experience, and learn by reading methodology sections of recent human rights fact-finding reports.

Learning Objectives:

Through this course, you will understand what fact-finding is, and how fact-finding interviews are used in the human rights field. More specifically, you will develop interviewing skills and knowledge that will enable you to:

  • Understand core standards and ethical considerations for human rights interviews

  • Mitigate risks of retraumatization and vicarious trauma

  • Interview survivors of human rights abuses, and understand best practices for interviewing specific populations

  • Interview civil society advocates and service providers

  • Interview government or corporate officials

  • Navigate remote interviews

  • Assess and handle security risks for interviews

  • Obtain data and information from official sources

A-F or S/N
Exam Format:
The assignments are short and practical. They're designed to build your skills in planning and conducting human rights interviews. There is no lengthy written paper assignment, and no final exam.
Commensurate with other graduate-level courses, though readings are typically shorter.
Past Syllabi:
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/walsh912_PA5890_Spring2022.pdf (Spring 2022)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/walsh912_PA5890_Spring2021.pdf (Spring 2021)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/walsh912_PA5890_Fall2020.pdf (Fall 2020)
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
24 October 2021

ClassInfo Links - Spring 2023 Public Affairs Classes Taught by Janet Walsh

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