• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History
  • Areas of interest History, International Relations, Philosophy, Politics

The idea of universal, inalienable rights has become the dominant moral language of our time, with Human Rights having become a source of inspiration to oppressed individuals and groups across the world, and a rallying cry for a global civil society. The ideas shaping contemporary Human Rights, however, have deep historical roots, drawing on religious and secular ethics, morality and social justice in various societies and cultures. This course asks: how did all of this come to be? Are Human Rights the product of a peculiarly European heritage, or is its moral, cultural, and political basis far wider than this? Did human rights serve as a 'civilizing' mask for colonialism, and what has been the relationship between decolonisation and the question of rights? Exploring these and other questions, the course investigates Human Rights not only as theories embodied in texts, but as practices embedded in specific historical contexts, and works towards a genealogy of human rights. Taking a thematic and chronological approach, the course first explores notions of rights across a range of religious and cultural traditions. We examine the impact of the American and French Revolutions on the advancement of ideas about human rights, and how other threads such as the Cold War, Apartheid, and the ‘War on Terror’ have undermined them. We also examine the impacts of slavery, imperialism, war, and genocide, as well as responses to them, and global movements such as civil, indigenous, women’s, and minority rights, and the rise of the modern human rights movement.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of ANU courses towards a degree, or with the permission of the convenor.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1164
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2298
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2574
2014 $3246
2013 $3240
2012 $3240
2011 $3240
2010 $3240
2009 $3240
2008 $3240
2007 $3132
2006 $3132
2005 $3132
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3185 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

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