Course Highlight: 2024 Summer Program

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Thinking about taking a summer course? Professor Tim Wyman-McCarthy is sharing a few highlights of the class he will be teaching this summer.

What course will you be teaching this summer? What inspired you to design and teach this particular course?
This summer I am teaching "Indigenous Rights and Settler Colonialism in North America." I designed this course because I wanted to explore with my students the intersection of grassroots anticolonial movements and the international human rights apparatus in purportedly liberal, 'rights respecting' countries like Canada. I am fascinated by how these states simultaneously recognize and resist rights claims, and how anticolonial aspirations fit uneasily within a rights imaginary. Finally, I feel that it is important for students at Columbia to have the opportunity to study struggles for justice that are not just global and elsewhere but very much local and 'here'. What does the project of settler decolonization mean for us as a community studying human rights on the Upper West Side of New York City?   
What skills and knowledge do students gain in your class?
The class first and foremost invites students to hone their critical thinking skills. By assigning readings from history, anthropology, political and critical theory, international relations,
Native studies, law, as well as documents produced by intergovernmental organizations and NGOs, the course asks students to draw together different and sometimes conflicting ways of analyzing a problem in order to pose new, more complex questions. My pedagogical style involves working with students to locate and confront paradoxes, contradictions, and difficult cases, which push our analytical tools and frameworks to their limits. Along the way, students will be introduced to the mechanisms of the international Indigenous rights movement and the central debates in settler colonial studies.   
Tell us something about yourself that may surprise your students
In addition to being an avid baker, aspiring gardener, and theater kid at heart, I spend much of my time thinking about my next backpacking trip. Growing up in Ontario with teacher parents (i.e. summers off!), I had the opportunity to camp in every province of Canada, and have loved it ever since.  
For information on ISHR's Summer program, click here