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Unit information: The Politics of Human Rights in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name The Politics of Human Rights
Unit code POLI30026
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Ashley Dodsworth
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

The Politics of Human Rights introduces students to the debates over human rights. Exploring the contemporary debates over rights to migration and torture, the theoretical underpinnings of the concept of human rights, debates over who can possess such rights and the ethical considerations over measurement, this unit will enable students to both understand and participate in the dominant moral language of contemporary politics and the contested attempts to apply it.

The aims of this unit are:

  • to examine the theoretical and practical underpinnings of human rights
  • explore what is meant by ‘human’, how such rights have developed, the extent of their reach and their measurement.
  • enable students to understand the contemporary political debate surrounding five rights; the rights of migrants, the right to life, the right to freedom from torture, gender rights and environmental rights

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • Thoroughly understand the development of human rights and the problems inherent with the definition of these concepts, particularly with regard to the terms ‘universality’ and ‘human’
  • Show a mastery of the methodologies that are used to assess human rights fulfilment and the ability to apply these methods appropriately
  • Assess and critically evaluate the contemporary debate surrounding key human rights and develop their own position in response
  • Present and defend a detailed and well-structured position in response to the relevant academic literature and their own research

Teaching details

one hour lecture and two hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

  • 1500 word essay (25%) assessing learning outcomes 1 & 2
  • 3000 word essay (75%) assessing learning outcomes 3 & 4

Reading and References

  • James Nickel, Making Sense of Human Rights, (Blackwell: New York, 2007)
  • Lynn Hunt, Inventing Human Rights, (New York: Norton, 2007)
  • Todd Landman and Edzia Carvalho, Measuring Human Rights, (New York: Routledge, 2010)
  • Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice, Third Edition, (USA: Cornell University Press, 2013)
  • Andrew Clapham, Human Rights: A Very Short Introduction, Second Edition, (Oxford: OUP, 2015)
  • Michael Goodhart (ed), Human Rights: Polices and Practice, Third Edition (New York: OUP, 2016)

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