Institutional Change in American Universities: The Rise of Human Rights Centers and Degree Programs
David F. Suarez

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Southern California

Primary Discipline

Over the last 30 years an increasing number of universities in the Unites States have established research centers and degree programs in human rights. Why and how did human rights become university knowledge, what types of degree programs and research centers exist, and which universities develop human rights programs? These core questions frame my proposal to study human rights in universities, building from research on the global rise of human rights education in primary and secondary school curricula. Event history analyses will address the adoption of human rights programs in U.S. universities, and I will evaluate hypotheses based on four conceptual frames using a sample of 384 institutions with data since 1970. Qualitative comparative analysis will focus on the diversity and evolution of human rights programs in universities, and I will select 10 programs for intensive study. This research is important because it draws attention to the transformation of human rights from a radical social movement to a legitimate academic field in universities. Moreover, by addressing a curricular innovation that builds from a global social movement, my work contributes to understanding how processes operating beyond the United States are translated into local contexts.
About David F. Suarez

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