• 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
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

Human rights, in ideal terms, are universal. Yet the notion is a product of history. This course traces the cultural, political, religious and philosophical forces that inspired revolutionary thinkers to question old world inequalities and injustice. However, the earliest efforts to establish human rights applied only to privileged minorities and dominant nations.

How did the concept of universal human rights arise? What role has individual and collective voices of protest played in this development? What sorts of actions have been taken to protest rights violations? On what basis has the denial of rights to particular groups been justified? 

The answers to these questions have differed internationally and over time. This course will focus on slavery and forced labour; colonisation; gender disparities and sexual minorities; environmental disasters and degradation; religious oppression; genocide; asylum seeking; the right to die; prisoners’ rights; and political persecution.   

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Identify the key moments and international instruments in the establishment of the contemporary human rights regime;
  2. Critically analyse the key issues and debates around the emergence of ideas concerning 'rights' and the specific development of the contested concept of 'human rights';
  3. Interpret historical representations of human rights;
  4. Undertake original research to apply key course concepts; and,
  5. Critically analyse the concepts raised in lectures and identify them in the assigned readings.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial participation (10%) (LO 1,2,3,5)

Primary Document Exercise (1,000 words) (15%) (LO 1,2,3)

Case Study Research Essay (2,500 words) (35%) (LO 1,2,3,4)

Examination 40% (LO 1,2,3,4)

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.

Workload

130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorial and tutorial-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

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.

Prescribed Texts

E-Brick

Preliminary Reading

  • Micheline Ishay, The History of Human Rights: from ancient times to the globalization era, University of California Press, 2008.
  • Aryer Neier, The International Human Rights Movement: A History, Princeton University Press, 2013.
  • Roland Burke, Decolonization and the Evolution of International Human Rights, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010.

  • Lynn Hunt, “The Paradoxical Origins of Human Rights,” in Wasserstrom, Grandin, Hunt, & Young (eds), Human Rights and Revolutions, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2007, pp. 3-15.
  • John Locke, excerpt from “The Second Treatise of Government,” in Patrick Hayden (ed), The Philosophy of Human Rights: Readings in Context', Paragon House, 2001, pp. 71-79.
  • Michael Zuckert, “Natural Rights in the American Revolution: The American Amalgam,” in Human Rights and Revolutions, pp. 65-82.
  • David Zaret, “Tradition, Human Rights, and the English Revolution” in Human Rights and Revolutions, pp. 47-63.

Assumed Knowledge

The course does not assume any prior knowledge of human rights. 

Majors

Minors

Fees

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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
1
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.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2836 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 31 Mar 2020 29 May 2020 In Person N/A

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