Human Rights III

Course - first cycle - 61-90 credits

Syllabus for students spring 2013

Course Code:
MR106L revision 1.1
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Human Rights
Date of establishment:
08 March 2012
Date of ratification:
21 December 2012
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
21 January 2013
Replaces Syllabus ratified:
30 August 2012

Entry requirements

Prerequisite courses for this course are: Passed courses: MR101E-Human Rights I or MR101L-Human Rights I and MR102E-Human Rights II or MR105E-Human Rights II or MR105L-Human Rights II.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

On completion of the course the student will:

show deeper knowledge and understanding of the political, philosophical, and legal perspectives of and the debate concerning human rights; and

show deeper knowledge and understanding collective action regarding growth and development of human rights.

Skills and abilities

On completion of the course the student will:

show deeper capability to identify, formulate and solve, within given time limits, complex problems and assignments about the course themes from a legal, political as well as philosophical perspective;

show deeper capability to argue for and present, both in writing and orally, their judgements and analyses of these problems and assignments; and

show capability to gather material and process information about human rights within the course themes and present it in a logical and coherent way, either individually or in groups.

Judgement and approach

On completion of the course the student will:

show deeper capability to assess independently their own knowledge of the subject and to identify their need of further knowledge of human rights; and
show capability to identify relevant areas of research within human rights.


• Universal values (7,5 credits) - Written assignment and oral presentations.
• Rights, the public and collective action – Written assignment
• Thesis (15 credits) - Seminar
Examination of the students’ achievements on course modules 1 and 2 is by a written assignment. The course Universal values also include compulsory seminars and oral presentations. The third course module (thesis) is examined by the thesis and participation in an opposition seminar. In the examination the following are assessed: knowledge and understanding of those issues within the human rights-area that the course comprises, the student’s capability to, within given timelimits and the examination circumstances in general, analyse critically, assess and solve problems concerning human rights. In addition, the student’s capability to analyse and reflect on the support for human rights in the society of today is assessed. In order to get the highest grade on course modules 1 and 2 the written assignment has to be handed in within the time limit specified on the schedule. No particular re-examination opportunity is offered. Instead, the student may, at any time during the semester, hand in their assignments, knowing that it may take until the end the semester before it is graded and that they will not get the highest grade for that course module. In addition to the regular thesis seminar on any given semester, seminars are offered by the end of term, as specified in the schedule.

Course content

The content of the course is a continuation of the courses Human Rights 1-30 credits and 31-60 credits, organised by Global Political Studies, Malmö University, in terms of multidisciplinary theories and methodologies, as well as project work.

Universal values (7,5 credits)
Rights, the public and collective action (7,5 credits)
Thesis (15 credits)

The module “Universal values” which is concerned with the debates about the universality of human rights, both as a question of what it means (morally and politically) to claim that human rights are universal and of the kind of criticism that has been directed at such claims. In the latter regard various cultural relativist approaches are discussed, but also political debates. Further, the relation between universality and discussions concerning gender, multiculturalism and religion is analysed. The second course module “Rights, the public and collective action” focuses on the role of collective action regarding the growth and development of human rights . The third course module (thesis) is comprised by thesis writing to be completed individually or by a maximum of two persons together. If the thesis is written by two persons it is assumed that the students individually can account for all content

The course includes essential orientation of perspectives and themes in human rights, as for example the following:
• The development of regional legal systems
• Structure and organization of regional human rights courts and their case law
• Democratic values, identity of individuals and moral beliefs
• Universal values
• Religions and human rights values
• Gender issues

In order to practice legal analysis and to solve legal problems with reference to human rights law, different instruments, such as conventions and treaties, will be used as working materials. Additionally, academic articles and research materials will be used and examined in order to give the students the possibility to discuss and critically analyse the multidisciplinary perspectives of human rights.

The experience and knowledge gained at the course will be practised by the submission of written and comprehensive papers and a project work, where the students are given an opportunity to independently reflect on the multiple range of human rights methods and theories of the schools of law, political science and humanism.

Learning activities

Course modules 1 and 2 contains teaching mostly in the form of seminars. On the third course module teaching is in the form of supervision. A large part of the learning activities consists of independent study.

During the project work, teachers supervision is provided.

A student who has not finished the project work during the course, or has not received a passing grade on the project work at the end of the course cannot be guaranteed continued supervision.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

Module 1: Universal values

  • Benhabib, Seyla The Claims of Culture. Equality and Diversity in the Global Era. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2002. ISBN 978-0-691-04863-5. 240 pages.
  • Habermas, Jürgen, Religion in the Public Sphere, European Journal of Philosophy, Volume 14, Issue 1 (April 2006), pp. 1-25 (available through Blackwell Synergy).
  • Laborde, Cécile: "Secular Philosophy and Muslim Headscarves in Schools", The Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2005, pp. 305-329.
  • Macedo, Stephen, Liberal Civic Education and Religious Fundamentalism: The Case of God v. John Rawls? Ethics Vol. 105, No. 3 (Apr., 1995), pp. 468-496 (available through JSTOR)
  • Okin, Susan Moller Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? Cohen et. al. (red.) Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 1999. ISBN 978-0-691-00432-3. 140 pages.
  • Pogge, Thomas World Poverty and Human Rights. Cambridge: Polity Press. 2002 (first edition) or 2008 (second edition). ISBN 978-0-7456-2995-4 (1 ed.), 978-0-7456-4144-7 (2 ed.). 285 pages.
  • Wallerstein, Immanuel European Universalism. The Rhetoric of Power. New York: The New Press. 2006. ISBN 978-1-59558-061-0. 95 pages.

Module 2: Rights, the Public and Collective Action

  • Nash, Kate (2010) Contemporary Political Sociology: Globalization, Politics and Power Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Nash, Kate (2009) Readings in Contemporary Political Sociology. Wiley-Blackwell.

There may be additional articles (max 100 pages) in the lecture presentations.

Reference literature:

  • David Snow, Sarah Soule & Hanspeter Kriesi (Eds) The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements. Blackwell.

  • Stammers, Neil (2009) Human Rights and Social Movements. Pluto Press

Course evaluation

All students are given the oppourtunity to give their comments at the end of the course, in writing or orally. A compilation of the results will be available on the faculty computer net. In addition, there are opportunities to give written or oral evaluations after each course module.

Student participation is in the form of course meetings.