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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Political Theory of International Human Rights (PGSP11161)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionThis is a course for political theory students and addresses contemporary issues and debates relating to human rights. It includes debates about: philosophical questions concerning what human rights are; the normative difference between social/economic and civil/political rights, relating these to ideas of 'positive' vs 'negative' rights; whether and how severe poverty is a matter of human rights violation; whether human rights support or conflict with goals of democracy, domestically and internationally; whether/when human rights concerns can legitimate intervention, even military, in other states' affairs; whether human rights principles are consistent with, or a challenge to, the principle of state sovereignty; whether human rights can or should be used to the ends of environmental protection; whether human rights are culturally relative or genuinely universal.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Political Theory and International Affairs (PGSP11111)
Co-requisites Students MUST also take: War and Morality (PLIT11011)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?Yes
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  20
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Class Delivery Information In 2011 it is expected to run this course as a guided reading course: students meet weekly for two-hour self-led discussion of the week's set texts.
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
Students will acquire skills, knowledge and understanding to form reasoned views on the debates indicated in the course description. In particular, they will learn to:

- Understand the competing philosophical arguments about the nature and conditions of existence of human rights
- Assess the relationship between legal and moral framings of human rights
- Reflect critically on different categories of human rights (social, economic, civil, political)
- Assess the arguments for and against cultural relativist critiques of human rights as universal
- Asses the extent to which human rights support or compete with democratic values
- Assess the role of human rights in environmental protection
- Assess the role of human rights in relation to humanitarian intervention
- Assess the competing claims of human rights and the principle of state sovereignty.
Assessment Information
one essay of 4000 words
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Not entered
Transferable skills Not entered
Reading list Beetham, D (ed) (1995) Politics and Human Rights (Political Studies special issue) Blackwell
Boyle, A and Anderson, M (1996) Human Rights Approaches to Environmental Protection, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
Caney, S & Jones, P (eds) (2001) Human Rights and Global Diversity, F. Cass.
Davidson, S (1993) Human Rights, Open University Press.
Donnelly, J (1998) International Human Rights, 2nd edn., Westview, Boulder Colorado.
Donnelly, J (1989) Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. Cornell UP.
Dunne, T & Wheeler, N (eds) (1999) Human Rights in Global Politics Cambridge UP
Evans, T (ed) (1998) Human Rights Fifty Years On: a reappraisal, Manchester UP.
Hayden, P (2001) The Philosophy of Human Rights, Paragon House.
Hayward, T (2005) Constitutional Environmental Rights, Oxford University Press.
Jones, P (1994) Rights, Macmillan.
Martin, R (1993) A System of Rights, Clarendon Press, Oxford [online OSO]
Morsink, J (1999) The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: origins, drafting and intent, University of Pennsylvania Press.
Nickel, J (1987) Making Sense of Human Rights, Univ of California Press. Scanned
text available online from
Orend, B (2002) Human Rights: Concept and Context, Broadview Press.
Pogge, T (2007) World Poverty and Human Rights, 2nd edn, Polity Press.
Raphael, DD (ed) (1967) Political Theory and the Rights of Man, Indiana UP.
Rawls, J (1999) The Law of Peoples, Harvard UP.
Renteln, A (1990) International Human Rights: universalism versus relativism. Sage
Shue, H (1980) Basic rights : subsistence, affluence, and U.S. foreign policy. Princeton University Press. (Also a 2nd edition, 1996)
Vincent, R (1986) Human Rights and International Relations. Cambridge UP
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Tim Hayward
Tel: (0131 6)50 4238
Course secretaryMrs Gillian Macdonald
Tel: (0131 6)51 3244
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