This course undertakes a sociological study of human rights theory and practice at the local, national, and global levels. We consider theoretical perspectives on human rights, discussing competing definitions and concepts, barriers to consensus, and the possibility of universal rights. We will pay particular attention to cultural factors affecting understandings of human rights norms, practices, and policies. Our discussions will also include reflections upon the relationship between social science methods and human rights. The course focuses on the difficulty of translating theory and methods into human rights practice and policies that actually influence people’s lives for the better.