The capstone project is designed to meet the unique needs and interests of students from a broad range of undergraduate majors. A traditional capstone option would be for the student to propose and complete a 25-page research paper on a human rights topic. The paper may be an extension of a previous paper written for a related course, so long as the supervising faculty, who must be on Academic Council, agrees that the workload involved in the revision and extension is commensurate with the credits to be received by the student.
We recognize that while some students will be keen to undertake writing-intensive capstone project in the form of a traditional research paper, other students may wish to explore a human rights topic of their choosing in other ways, perhaps drawing on the skills they have learned in their major discipline, or prototyping a tool with practical application for a human rights problem, or engaging in some sort of creative work in art, performance, or literature.
As outlined in the minor requirements, students will need to select a faculty member on Academic Council to oversee the development and evaluation of their capstone project. The capstone course (HUMRTS 199) may be taken for 3 - 5 units, reflecting the nature of the student’s proposal. The student must receive a grade of ‘B’ or higher to claim credit for the human rights minor.
Students wishing to complete a capstone project other than a research paper may propose alternative culminating work, such as:
- Film, produce, and screen an original short documentary about a local organization or student group’s advocacy efforts around a particular human rights topic (e.g. examining the work of local affordable housing advocates, and exploring the ways in which they invoke a rights-based rhetoric in pursuit of their goals)
- Develop an annotated digital database of materials related to the promotion or protection of human rights (e.g. a database of country reports and NGO “shadow reports” on core human rights treaty compliance, with finding tools designed to help human rights scholars, students, and advocates discover trends or draw comparisons between these documents)
- Develop a GIS mapping project that layers different types of data to discover and illustrate relationships between potentially related phenomena and/or change over time (e.g. environmental issues such as desertification, or public health issues such as disease incidence or infant mortality rates, mapped alongside data about reported instances of certain types of human rights violations)
- Curate an art exhibit featuring works related to a particular human rights theme (e.g. artistic depictions of the refugee experience)
- Produce a series of original podcasts exploring on a human rights topic in depth
- Compile and organize a literary anthology of fiction, non-fiction, and/or poetry that grapples with human rights themes
- Develop a software application designed to address a specific human rights challenge (e.g. a tool for aid workers in a conflict area to be able to record and store sensitive interview information or other data, even in the face of frequent loss of internet connectivity, and securely back up data to a cloud-based repository, whenever possible)
Students must fill out this form as a first step to completing their capstone. Once the project is approved by the Handa Center, a section of HUMRTS 199 will be created with the selected faculty advsisor and students may enroll for the agreed number of units.