1) Identify which items from the registry concern the rights of an individual (dissident or other public figure), and which ones concern the rights of a group (linguistic, ethnic, religious, or other minority). Is one set of items from and earlier or later period of the Cold War? Are different terms used, or different arguments made on behalf of an individual or a group?
In-class or short-term assignments
2) Look up some basic information about the Helsinki Accords of 1975, and try to find references to the Helsinki agreement or uses of its terms in the selected items. Has our thinking about human rights changed at all since the mid-1970s, or are we still in a "Helsinki moment"?
3) Where do you see divisions and tensions among the different groups represented here under the larger rubric of "human rights"? Follow two of these groups into the postsocialist period and report on what happened to them after 1989.
4) How did the human rights discourse dovetail with ecological issues during the socialist period? How does this compare to the way that people discuss ecological problems today? Is climate change a question of human rights, or is it now framed differently?
1) Take the single issue of Roma rights and trace how it has changed between the socialist and postsocialist period. Although the condition of Roma minority differs dramatically from country to country, socialist governments frequently intervened into Roma affairs with changes to lifestyle, cultural activities, and economic outlook. Can we see the longer-term effect of these policies in the postsocialist period?
Offsite, longer-term assignments
2) Several of the selected collections feature national patriotic movements and/or religious movements who used the language of human rights to bring their causes to an international public during the Cold war. Do they still use this language today? Are they similar to any national patriotic from your home countries today? Research two national patriotic and/or religious movements that began before 1989 (from any country), and try to analyze how their politics and public face has changed over the last few decades.