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The University of Southampton
Courses

LAWS6149 Human Rights in Context

Module Overview

Understanding the historical and philosophical origins of human rights within the universal claims of Public International Law is the key focus of this module. At the outset the module critically considers how understandings of human rights became an intrinsic part of the claims of universality of international law and were underpinned by theories of justice. This conventional picture of human rights is critically examined by considering the range of perspective which challenge this: including cultural relativist, postmodern, postcolonial and feminist understandings of the international legal order. The Module concludes by examining the range of contemporary problems which challenge and question the meaning of human rights within the international legal order.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • A1. historical and philosophical origins of human rights in the construction of the international legal order.
  • A2. relationship between human rights and a universal theory of justice
  • A3. alternative perspectives about human rights and the challenges faced by a conventional account of human rights.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • B1. analyse and interpret legal materials, identify key legal principles and issues and, where appropriate, make constructive criticisms of the framework of human rights in its relationship to the emergence of the international legal order.
  • B2. communicate effectively knowledge of these human rights issues and their resolution and present reasoned arguments.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • C1. undertake independent research and access primary and secondary sources effectively.
  • C2. communicate arguments in writing and reference sources appropriately

Syllabus

Indicative syllabus topics will include: 1. What do we mean by human rights? 2. The foundational questions of international law and relationship to human rights 3. Human Rights as a universal theory of justice 4. Human Rights within the current architecture of international law 5. Post-Colonial criticism of human rights 6. Relativism and post-modernism 7. Identity and Human Rights 8. Feminism and the impact on human rights understandings 9. Indigenous human rights 10. Contemporary Problems and the Future of Rights Protections The topics above are indicative of those which will be covered. This is a dynamic field and changes in content, order, name and scope of topics may be desirable from year to year. The precise content of the module in any particular year will be confirmed in a module overview document distributed via the course Blackboard site before the first lecture.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods: One 2-hour seminar per week Learning activities include: - Directed and additional reading, as per distributed reading lists reproduced on Blackboard; - Engagement with media business reports so that you can relate the materials being discussed to contemporary controversies.

TypeHours
Independent Study130
Teaching20
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Blackboard.

Assessment

Formative

Essay

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4500 words) 100%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4500 words) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (4500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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