module specification

GI6067 - Human Rights and International Conflict (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Human Rights and International Conflict
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 150
42 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
32 hours Guided independent study
76 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Seminar 20%   Seminar presentation answering a set question, delivered after the corresponding week's lecture.
Coursework 80%   Essay answering one of the set questions, which may, but need not be, the same as that presented in a seminar.
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
No instances running in the year

Module summary

This module engages with the contemporary debate about the theory and practice of human rights, about their origin, the ideal of their universality, their imperfect institutionalization, and the challenges facing their implementation in a world of domestic populisms and international conflict.

Module aims

To provide a historical and critical introduction to ideas and institutions of human rights, and to evaluate their relation to state sovereignty and international conflict.
To provide an understanding of the relation of theory to practice, facts to values, politics to ethics, and ideas of universality to both cultural tradition and relativical relativity.
To relate philosophical theories and propositions to practices and issues of political, social, economic, legal and international justice.
To elaborate arguments that are at once logical, evidenced and reflectively ethical.

Prior learning requirements



Natural Rights and Moral Universalism - LO 1,3

Declaratory Universalism and Human Rights - LO 2,3

International Conflict and a Responsibility to Protect - LO 2,3

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

This module is taught through lectures and seminars. Students are expected to prepare thoroughly for the seminars both in terms of completing the assessment (giving presentations) but also in terms of evaluating the presentations in a formative way and participating in the seminar discussions. Indeed, the reflective aspects of the module require students to consider the political and ethical ideas of the module not only in abstract theoretical terms, but also in terms of ethical practice and transformation. Blended learning will be achieved through the University’s provision of web-based learning facilities and ITC in the classroom.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should have developed:
1. an appreciation of the history of rights and of the relation of that history to past and present political and international conflicts;
2. a critical understanding of the ethical, political and international potential and difficulties of human rights;
3. the ability to scrutinize moral theories and political facts in the light of each other, to ethically evaluate social practices and national and international institutions ethically, and to elaborate, justify, advance, defend and revise a logically structured argument supported by relevant textual and empirical evidence.


Core Text

Moyn, Samuel  The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History, Harvard University Press, 2010.

Other Texts

An-Na’im - “The Spirit of Laws is Not Universal: Alternatives to the Enforcement

Abdullahi Ahmed - Paradigm for Human Rights”, Tilburg Law Review 21:2 (255-274), 2016.

Etinson, Adam, ed - Human Rights: Moral or Political?, Oxford University Press, 2018.

Forsythe, David P. - Human Rights in International Relations, Cambridge University Press, 2017 (4th ed).

Goodale, Mark ed - Letters to the Contrary: A Curated History of the UNESCO Human Rights ed. Survey, Stanford University Press, 2018.

Guyer, Paul - Kant, Routledge, 2014 (2nd ed).

International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty - The Responsibility to Protect: Report of the International Commission on
Intervention and State and Sovereignty, Internatlional Development Research Centre, 2001.

Kant, Immanuel - Practical Philosophy, trans. & ed. Mary J. Gregor, Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Knight, Kelvin - Freedom’s Useful Name: Politics’ Primacy in Human Rights’, Declaratory Moment, Cambridge University Press, 2019.

MacIntyre, Alasdair - Ethics in the Conflicts of Modernity: An Essay on Desire, Practical Reasoning, and Narrative, Cambridge University Press, 2016.

Moyn, Samuel - Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World, Harvard University Press, 2018.

Normand, Roger & Zaidi, Sarah - Human Rights at the UN: The Political History of Universal Justice, Indiana University Press, 2008.

Nussbaum, Martha C - ‘’Progress and Women’s Human Rights”, Human Rights Quarterly 38:3 (589-622), 2016.

Rawls, John - A Theory of Justice, Harvard University Press, 1999 (2nd edn.).

Rawls, John - The Law of Peoples with “The Idea of Public Reason Revisited”, Harvard University Press, 1999.

Tasioulas, John - Human Rights: From Morality to Law, Oxford University Press, 2019.


Humanity: an international journal of human rights, humanitarianism, and development 


Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect:
Human Rights Consortium:
Humanity journal website:
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner:

Electronic Databases

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights:
Freedom House:
Rule of Law in Armed Conflicts project:
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute databases:
United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, Universal Human Rights Index: