PG 465 - Human Rights and Globalisation

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Module Level


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Time Allowance

20 Taught Hours


100% Continuous Assessment (See Module Syllabus)

Module Aims

Aims: The former Secretary General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali called human rights “the common language of humanity”. Yet, challenges, often linked to globalisation, appear to expose inherent weaknesses and contradictions. This module will explore human rights discourse as a multi-faceted and normative language. To understand rights is to consider co-relative terms such as society, justice, law and activism. Therefore, the module will trace how different moral traditions – the natural law, liberalism and critical theory – have frame-worked these ideas to provide their own particular approach to human rights. Such moral traditions will be studied by way of significant texts, historical movements and human rights institutions.

Indicative Syllabus:

This course will explore

  1. Philosophical and Theological approaches to Human Rights
  2. Contemporary Human Rights Documents, Instruments and Institutions
  3. Contemporary challenges within a globalised world, including national security, economic development, information technology, and religious freedom.

Timetable: Semester 1 - Monday 14:00 - 16:00 Beginning 8th October 2018

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify key characteristics of the operation of human rights language
  • Discern the evolution of human rights in the Natural Law tradition
  • Identify the operation of rights language in the Liberal tradition and tradition of Critique.
  • Read critically Human Rights instruments and significant documents in the Canon of Human Rights
  • Appreciate the effect of rights-language on moral discourse in contemporary society


  • Brownlie, I. and G.S. Goodwin-Gill. Basic Documents on Human Rights. 6th Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.
  • Goodhart, Michael. Human Rights: Politics and Practice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Regan, E. Theology and the Boundary Discourse of Human Rights. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010.
  • Hogan, Linda, Keeping Faith with Human Rights. Washington DC: Georgetown University, Press, 2015.
  • Steiner, H.J. and P. Alston. International Human Rights in Context Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Witte, J. and M Christian Green. eds. Religion and Human Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Witte, J. and Alexander F.S. eds. Christianity and Human Rights: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.