Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

ROST 382 Human Rights - The View from Rome

Fall 2016


ROST 382: Fall Semester 2016

Human Rights: A View from Rome


Instructor:                    Chiara Peri

Monday:                       6.30-9 pm

Office Hours:               Monday – by appointment




Theory, actuality and application of select human rights issues in the Mediterranean region as viewed from the perspective of Rome. This course includes 24 hours of required practical engagement with the local community.




There are three primary themes to this class:

  • A review of current social issues within Italy and the Mediterranean region
  • A reflection on how such issues are managed and reflected in the media
  • Self-reflection anchored in one’s experience from serving in the community


The central theme of the class is to gain a basic level of understanding of current pressing social problems facing Italy, with a special focus on migration. Italy is situated in a geographic and political nexus where debates converge from across the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Balkans and North Africa. A few of the topics to be addressed by guest lecturers will be: the role of Islam in Europe, the reception of migrants and refugees, and racism encountered by many migrants upon arrival into Europe.


Another central theme is for students to understand their service work on a personal level. In the Jesuit tradition of working to morally educate the whole person, class sessions will incorporate readings and creative methods from a range of religious traditions and academic disciplines allowing students to reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, and personal worldview. Sessions will include a reflective exercise and requires that students fully participate.


This is not a class in which one can sit and solely listen; active participation is expected. A reoccurring question throughout the course is how one can grow from participation a his/her service sites. As a result of one’s service work and the reflection work (i.e. readings, class exercises, and journal work), it is envisioned that each student will become more agents of social change in the long term. At a minimum, an expected outcome is that each student’s moral values be challenged as a result of his/her service work in Rome.


Course Structure:


The course will include lectures, class discussions and student presentations. Films, acquired from a variety of sources, will enhance the readings in the course. There will frequently be three components to class discussions.


1.   A brief introduction to the key moral philosophers/ human rights academics which will provide the backdrop to class discussion.

2.   An analysis on a current political or social issue impacting the Mediterranean region, sometimes including a presentation by a guest speaker.


3.   The latter part of each class comprises a reflective session in which students analyze their work in the community.


Each student will be placed with a Rome based non-governmental Organisation (NGO), referred to as a non-profit agency in the United States.


Please note:

All Loyola undergraduate students enrolled in an engaged learning course are required to enter their engaged learning site information and learning objectives in LOCUS to substantiate the experience. This

information is used for institutional research, documentation, and risk management purposes. If you need

assistance completing this entry, please follow the tutorial at: http://www.luc.edu/experiential/ academicinternships/studentresources/locustutorial/


Course Expectations:


   The class will meet a total of 13 times during the Semester.

   The final class session may require that students remain a little longer or arrive a little earlier in order that all students are given ample time to present their final project.

   In  addition  to  in-class  requirements,  students  will  serve  a  minimum  of  24  hours  in  the

community.  This does not include travel to and from the service site.

   Beginning in the third week of class students will start their service work. Students who have not begun their service work by week four will be encouraged to withdraw from the class.

   The nature of the service requirement demands high levels of maturity and consistency from the

Rome Center workers.

  Students are expected to find their service site independent of Professor Peri.

   Excuses for not appearing at your service site will require a note from a medical doctor.



1.   A review of current social issues within Italy and the Mediterranean region

2.   A reflection on how such issues are managed and reflected in the media

3.   Self-reflection anchored in one’s experience while serving in the community


Theme 1:

Review of contemporary social issues within Italy and the European Union, with particular attention to the Mediterranean region.

  • To learn about Italian and Mediterranean movements for social change.


Theme 2:

Reflection on how such issues are managed and reflected in the media

  • To learn about the main political strategies in European Union to manage migration
  • To analyze the different narratives about migration in Italian and international media


Theme 3:

Self-reflection anchored in one’s experience from serving in the community.

  • To analyze some of the philosophical roots of community service specifically in light of the Jesuit vision of education.
  • To move beyond the intellectualisation of social issues and reflect on the potential for personal growth as a result of one’s service experience.




Week 1: 5 September

Topic: Introduction and Class description. Early concepts of human rights and open questions



The History of Human Rights, The Zeitgeist Movement


Reading to be discussed in class:

  • UN Declaration on Human Rights, December 10, 1948




Week 2: 12 September


Topic: Human rights and the history of Europe. Migration and asylum right. Different approaches.


  • Films

The legacy of Arrupe Vision


Reading to be discussed in class:

  • Ishay, Micheline (2007) Introduction, Human Rights: Historical and Contemporary Controversies, The Human Rights Reader: Major Political Essays, Speeches and Documents From Ancient Times to

the Present, New York: Routledge, pp. xxi-xxviii

  • McFadyen, Gillian (2012)  The Contemporary Refugee: Persecution, Semantics and Universality, eSharp, Special Issue: The 1951 UN Refugee Convention 60 Years On, viewed 27 July 2015




Week 3: 19 September

Journal Entry #1 due via email before noon today


Topic: Refugees in the world and the routes to Europe






Reading to be discussed in class:

  • Pontifical council "Cor Unum"- Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant

People,  Refugees: a Challenge to Solidarity

  • Recommendations for the Development of Safe and Legal Paths to Protection in the European Union




Additional optional audio-visual material: Borderline, 6 videos on Europe’s Migration Crossing Points  http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/europe-s-migration-crossing-points-captured-six- films




1 As new texts are published or come to the attention of the lecturer, they may replace older or less relevant material. Nevertheless, the overall thrust of the course will remain the same.



Week 4: 26 September



Movie: Welcome





Week 5: 3 October


Journal Entry #2 due via email before noon today


Topic: Europe faces forced migration. Dublin Regulation, relocation, border control


Readings to be discussed in class:

  • Aida Asylum information database. Country Report. Italy



Please Note: Time will be devoted during this class period for reviewing the criteria for final assignments.


10 October Mid-Semester Break, no class





Week 6: 17 October


Topic: Migrants and Refugees in Italy. Between challenges and hospitality.


Guest speaker: to be confirmed


Films:  JRS Welcome Project, the refugee experience




Readings to be discussed in class:






Week 7: 24 October

Journal Entry #3 due via email before noon today


Topic:. Dealing with trauma Guest speaker: to be confirmed Readings to be discussed in class:


  • UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment




Please note: All paper topics are to be confirmed by this date. A two paragraph description is due at the start of class.





Week 8: 31 October

Journal Entry #4 due via email before noon today


Topic: Social Justice, and the Role of Inter-religious Dialogue


Guest speaker: to be confirmed


Readings to be discussed in class:




Week 9: 7 November

Topic: Citizenship? Which citizenship? Inclusive societies and multiple belonging. Films:

  • Yassmin Abdel-Magied: What does my headscarf mean to you? Ted Talks (14:01)




Reading to be discussed in class:


Marchetti, Chiara (2011), Citizenship and multiple belonging. Representations of inclusion, identification and participation among children of immigrants in Italy, Journal of Modern Italian Studies http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1354571X.2011.565630#.VbYxU6TtlHw


Ambrosini, Maurizio (2012), Between National States and Cosmopolitan Societies: the Institution of

Citizenship takes the Immigration Test, MIGRACIONES 31, pp. 11-41






Week 10: 14 November


Topic: Education and media as strategies to build the spirit of an age

Guest Speaker: to be confirmed



Reading to be discussed in Class:





Week 11: 21 November

Journal Entry #5 due via email before noon today


Field visit: Field trip to a refugee center in Rome and testimony of a refugee living in town. Find out more about service learning hosting you.




Week 12: 28 November

All final papers are due





Week 13: 5 December


Final Papers: individual presentations and discussion




A. Class Participation 50 points

B. Community Service 100 points

C. Journal Entry / Collected via email 100 points (20 points per journal entry) D. Engaged learning assessment 50 points

E. Final Paper & Presentation: 200 points


Students may choose between a social justice topic, a client narrative, or one’s moral autobiography.


500 total points (2x)



A  = 957 up A- = 914 up B+ = 871 up B = 828 up B- = 785 up C+ = 742 up

C = 699 up


C- = 656 up


D+ = 613 up




A. Class Participation: 40 points

Attendance will be taken every class period. Students are expected to attend all class periods. Those who arrive more than ten minutes late will not be counted for the day.


B. Community Service Placement Site: 100 Points

Students choose a nonprofit (non-governmental) organisation that is working on issues of social change.

They will spend 24 – 30 hours at the site during the semester. They will plug into this agency as a volunteer. Students will graded on how they use their knowledge from their service site into

classroom discussions, reflections and other course work.


Service Sites include

Missionaries of Charity, Joel Nafuma Refugee Center, Jesuit Refugee Service Italy, Associazione

Kim, etc.


During class periods, students may be asked to discuss their service learning experiences. Typically, students will be asked to describe their specific on-site activities and relate their experiences to the topic being discussed in class. Students are expected to participate in those discussions.


While volunteering at a local service organization, students will be expected to act in a responsible manner. Each student must keep scheduled work hours and complete assigned duties. Students also are expected to maintain good working relationships with supervisors and peers.


Conduct that is deemed unacceptable to the agency supervisor may result in the student being dismissed from that placement and from the course. In the unlikely event a student were to not be present at his/her agency on a particular week it is mandatory that he/she send an email or place a phone call to the agency describing the purpose of one’s absence. Students will not be excused due to individual travel needs. Failure to appear due to an illness will require a note from the campus doctor. Failure to appear at your site during your assigned time reflects poorly on the entire Loyola community.


C. Journal Entry/Exams: 100 Points

Students will write fortnightly journals on this experience (20 points each). Each journal will be prompted by a question or statement from the class curriculum and will touch upon at least one of

the following topics:

  • volunteer activities
  • experiences related to the readings and discussions from class


Journals must be submitted via email and may be brief. Each journal entry must be a minimum of

300 words and no longer than 600 words. Please submit your journal no later than NOON on the day which it is due. Send your journal entry to Chiara Peri. Any journal received past the noon deadline will automatically be marked down by 50%.

The Journal entry may be replaced by exams in class. The exams will be given during the course of the Semester. The days in which the exams will be given will not be announced in advance. All

are expected to come to class having read the material for the week and be willing to discuss the

content. Each exam will ask a few simple questions related to the day’s readings. Those who have come to class having pre-read the day’s readings will have no problems answering the questions.


D. Engaged Learning Assessment

Loyola University Chicago’s mission statement:

“We are Chicago's Jesuit Catholic university- a diverse community seeking God in all things

and working to expand knowledge in the service of humanity through learning, justice, and faith.”


In an effort to assess the Engaged Learning University requirement, we ask all students enrolled in an

Engaged Learning course to complete this reflection.


Referencing Loyola’s mission statement above, compose a written reflection (at least 2 pages, double- spaced) that connects your in-class and out-of-class experience responding to the following:


·          How did your Engaged Learning experience help you to connect to the mission?

·          How did the Engaged Learning experience in this course impact your personal, intellectual, civic, and/or professional development?


Please submit your completed reflection in Taskstream. Students may find a tutorial on how to submit the assignment  here.




E. Topical Paper or Oral Histories: (200 Points)

A student may choose one of three options for his / her final paper. Option one is to develop a social justice topic area which has been discussed in class. Students are free to choose a topic (to

be approved by Professor Peri) examples might include: migration and/or forced migration,

interreligious dialogue, human rights and recent immigrants, inspiring values of European society, racism in Italy, etc. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list.



A second option exist allowing students to interview individuals they have spent time with during the course of their service work. The interviews are to capture the oral histories of immigrants in Italy. The final paper will require that the oral histories are augmented by at least five sources other than readings from class. In essence the interviews cannot stand alone; each oral narrative will need background information to place the story in a broader context in relation to topics that had been reviewed in class.


Finally, students will be given a third option which is to write a “Moral Autobiography.” Guidelines will be provided explaining how this process will unfold. It is recommended that the Moral Autobiography contains background information on one’s family, education, etc – dimensions of difference. The body of the paper will explore how one’s life might change or deepen based on the teachings of a particular contemporary philosopher or spiritual teacher. The final aspect of your Moral Autobiography needs to articulate your vision. Due to the confidential nature of your story the actual classroom presentation may be slightly abbreviated and will most likely not reflect the final paper to be submitted for your grade. Once again, the writing must be grounded in academic sources from the classroom readings, discussions and elsewhere.


On 3 October, an outline will be provided offering guidance on the format for the final paper. All topics for final papers must be approved no later than Monday, 24 October. Final papers are due

28 November. Each student will be required to deliver a 10 minute presentation on his/her topic, followed by a discussion with the class. The presentations will be given during the last lesson, on

5 December.


The final paper must be 2000 words in length (no longer than 2100 or shorter than 1900). It is essential that all quotes in the text are referenced properly, using an established style of referencing (e.g. Harvard style, APA style – see the “Referencing Style” information in the final pages of your course reader).