Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to search Skip to section navigation

Spring 2017 - Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights in Uganda

Tuesdays (4:30-6:30pm)


Uganda is a country in transition.  It is still dealing with the vestiges of a conflict that cannot be precisely characterized as driven by internal, regional or external forces.  Against that background, issues of human rights related to voting, freedom of political association and participation, and media freedom have been at the forefront of the focus and work of Uganda’s lawyers and legal institutions.  What attention, then, is devoted to issues that in the United States would be considered matters of domestic civil rights or entitlements such as criminal injustice; social discrimination against women, children, and persons with disabilities; access to health care and education; private property ownership; and poverty or economic inequality? 

This seminar will explore how Ugandan lawyers and legal institutions (bar associations, law schools, NGOs) are organizing to support advocacy aimed at expanding and enforcing economic, social and cultural rights, particularly in the areas of education, property rights, and health care.  An examination of the ways in which pro bono or public interest activities are approached by the Ugandan bar will be instructive to U.S. law students, as we struggle to ameliorate the inadequate legal representation that is available to marginal economic and social groups in civil law contexts.

Particular attention will be paid to Ugandans’ use of digital media to reach ordinary citizens in order to educate them regarding their economic, social, and cultural rights.  The final product of the seminar will be a documentary project that incorporates the students’ field-based research.  This research trip to Uganda will provide an opportunity for Penn Law students to engage in visual scholarship.   


The seminar will meet weekly during the fall semester (Tuesdays 4:30pm-6:30pm).

During the spring break (March 4-12, 2017), the class will spend one week in Kampala, where the group will meet with local stakeholders including attorneys, NGO workers, and their clients. In order to be eligible for this class, students must be able to attend the entirety of this research trip.


Students will be responsible for arranging and paying for their own transportation to/from Uganda. Students must arrive on the specified date and remain with the group until the end of the program. There will be no exceptions for late arrivals or early departures.

In addition to airfare, students will be charged a $900 program fee (for accommodations, in-country transportation and other programmatic expenses.) The trip fee assumes double occupancy accommodations. Some meals and cultural excursions will be covered by the program fees, but students will be expected to cover additional meals, sightseeing activities and incidental expenses.

Penn Law will provide partial or full financial aid to qualifying students. Students are also able to increase their loans to cover costs associated with this trip. After enrollment is determined, students seeking financial aid will be asked to provide a separate letter explaining the basis for their need. Financial aid decisions will be made in a timely fashion to allow students to drop the course should they wish to.


This class is open to 2L, 3L, and LLM students; there are no pre-requisites for enrolling in the seminar.

The application deadline is November 13, 2016.  In order to be considered for the seminar, students must follow the instructions provided via the online form below. Applicants must submit a short personal statement (of no more than 500 words) describing their reasons for wanting to take this class and their interest in the topic together with a resume, and unofficial transcript. As noted previously, only students who are able to be a part of the March research trip should apply.

Application Instructions