module specification

GI7010 - Human Rights and the International Order (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Human Rights and the International Order
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
 
155 hours Guided independent study
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Seminar 20%   Seminar Presentation
Coursework 80%   Essay
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Thursday Evening

Module summary

This module examines the theory and institutionalized practice of human rights and the significance of human rights politics for the structure of the present world order. It contextualises, analyzes, evaluates and applies various conceptions of human rights that are operative within international relations and within the study of international relations. Attention is paid to the transformation of state sovereignty by human rights discourse and practice. The relation of human rights to the international order is problematised in the context of the history and philosophy of human rights, liberalism and its critics and opponents, and institutions and systems of international governance and conflict.

Module aims

  1. This module contextualises, analyzes, evaluates and applies various conceptions of human rights that are operative within international relations, and within the study of international relations.
  2. Three subjects in particular are addressed:
    i. the causes of, and reasons for, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the broader development of human rights as a universalizing, globalizing , Westernizing and institutionalizing force in relations between states;
    ii. the variety of particular states, domestic and foreign policies, other political actors, cultures, and motivating ideologies into conflict with which human rights has come;
    iii. the transformation of state sovereignty by human rights discourse and practice.

These subjects are problematised in the context of the history and philosophy of human rights, liberalism and its critics and opponents, and institutions and systems of international governance and conflict.

Syllabus

  • Constructing States and Rights 
  • Constructing the International Order
  • Liberalism, Realism and Rights
  • The United Nations Project
  • Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect
  • From the Universal to the Particular
  • Presentations

Learning and teaching

The module is taught by way of lectures and seminar discussions in the first several weeks, followed by oral presentations of work in progress in the last couple weeks. In the later stages of the module, students are encouraged to apply the concepts, theories and arguments with which they have become familiar to real world situations and case studies.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this module students will be able to:
  • critically evaluate rival conceptions of human rights;
  • outline and explain the political developments that have shaped the pursuit of human rights in the international arena;
  • analyse, explain and evaluate the political tensions and issues arising from the pursuit of human rights in specific contexts, and suggest remedial reforms or actions as appropriate.

 

Assessment strategy

The essay will address the above learning outcomes by focusing on a major question in the field of human rights and international conflict. Through a contextualised and theoretically-informed study of some human rights issue or case in international affairs, this coursework will critically evaluate particular human rights agendas and regimes. Where appropriate, reforms may be proposed, taking account of current global and local conditions.

The seminar presentation takes the form of a report on the work in progress. The seminar presentations are expected to enhance the students' learning experience by offering them the opportunity to criticise, evaluate, learn from and help improve each other's work.

Bibliography

  • Alston, Philip, International Human Rights:The Successor to  International Human Rights in & Ryan Goodman (edd.)Context: Law, Politics, Morals,Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Alston, Philip, & The United Nations and Human Rights: A Critical Appraisal, Oxford University, Frederic Megret (edd.) Press, 2012 (2nd edn.).
  • Fisch, Jörg The Right of Self-determination of Peoples: The Domestication of an Illusion, (trans. Anita Mage), Cambridge University Press, 2015.
  • Forsythe, David P. Human Rights in International Relations, Cambridge University Press, 2012 (3rd edn.).
  • Guinn, David E. "Human Rights as Peacemaker: An Integrative Theory of International Human Rights", Human Rights Quarterly 38:3, 754-786, 2016.
  • Hoover, Joe, Reconstructing Human Rights: A Pragmatist and Pluralist Inquiry into Global Ethics, Oxford University Press, 2016.
  • Klose, Fabian (ed.), The Emergence of Humanitarian Intervention: Ideas and Practice from the Nineteenth Century to the Present, Cambridge University Press, 2015.
  • Knight, Kelvin, Rights and Interests: Politics and Philosophy in the History of Human Rights, Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • Mayerfeld, Jamie The Promise of Human Rights: Constitutional Government, Democratic Legitimacy, and International Law, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016.
  • Normand, Roger,vHuman Rights at the UN: The Political History of Universal Justice, Sarah Zaid, Indiana University Press, 2008.
  • 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, 2018.

Websites

http://humanityjournal.org
http://www.hrw.org/
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/WelcomePage.aspx
http://www.sas.ac.uk/projects-and-initiatives/human-rights-consortium