• Class Number 2832
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Nick Cheesman
    • Dr Nick Cheesman
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

Despite the shift from authoritarian to democratic or semi-democratic forms of government in Asia, human rights abuses are rife. Although Asian states have ratified a large number of international human rights conventions, the violation of human rights and unequal application of and access to the law are common across the region. Citizens and migrants face arbitrary detention, torture, disappearance and death at the hands of state, para-state, and other actors.  In this course, we will study the types of human rights prevalent in Asia today and ask what institutional, political and social structures allow for their persistence. We will ask what types of abuses occur despite the efforts of governments to eliminate them and what types are encouraged through government inaction, or tacit or explicit encouragement or abuse. Yet simultaneous to our study of rights violations, we will also study new the new strategies of redress that have emerged, including the growth of human rights organisations and transitional justice processes and the development of linkages between international and local organisations. Topics and countries emphasised will vary from year to year, but will include East, South, and Southeast Asia.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the broad landscape of human rights across Asia.
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the field of human rights studies and its relationship to advocacy.
3. Use different materials – including academic analysis, testimony and other accounts by survivors of human rights violations, legal and other state documents, advocacy and campaign materials – to examine and synthesise similarities and differences in human rights violation, protection, and consolidation across time and national boundaries.
4. Develop diverse writing skills and be able to compose the following: case summary, op-ed, proposal for further research or advocacy.

Course syllabus will be on the Wattle site. Contact me if you want it before the site is accessible.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Provocation: Human rights, the last utopia?
2 PART I: (NOT) KNOWING ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS Human rights fact production in Myanmar
3 Photography and genocide in Cambodia
4 Reading archives of violence in Gujarat
6 Legacies of massacres in Indonesia
7 Human rights and law in China
8 Speaking out in Vietnam
9 PART III: WHAT KINDS OF RIGHTS? WHICH SUBJECTIVITIES? Women’s rights claimants in West Bengal
10 Migrant workers’ rights in South Korea
11 Peasant land rights in Pakistan
12 Gay rights in Singapore

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Outline paper and presentation 30 % * 1, 2, 3, 4
Critical review 30 % 12/05/2023 1, 2, 3, 4
Oral examination 30 % 10/06/2023 1, 2, 3
Participation 10 % * 1, 2

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Outline paper and presentation

What do we need to know to read this text? = 30% total weighting

Outline = 8000 words, 15% weighting, due 5pm of day before the presentation

Presentation = 20 minutes, 15% weighting, presentation date allocated in week 2

Each week, one or more participants in the course will give a presentation in the first of our three contact hours on the topic for that week. The presentation is not on the contents of the book we are reading. Rather, the purpose is to set us up to discuss the book. What do we need to know, or what would it help us to know, to be able to read the text? What additional information would it be useful for us to have to understand the text’s context? This might include additional information about the history of the place discussed in the book, its social or economic or political conditions, or about the category of human rights with which it engages. It might include additional information on international organisations or human rights instruments relevant to the topic. The presentations are assessed individually but presenters in the same week need to coordinate so that their presentations do not overlap too much. Prior to your presentation you will post an outline of the points you will cover on Wattle, for use by all participants. We will set presentation dates at the end of Week 1, and presentations will begin in Week 3. The presentations will be peer assessed.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 12/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Critical review

2. Critical review = 30% total weighting, 1600 words, due Friday 21 April

For this task, you will select a recent piece of reportage on human rights conditions in Asia to critically review. It can be a report by an NGO, a state-based commission of inquiry or tribunal, an international inquiry, or a piece of investigative reportage. It does not have to relate directly to any of the issues we discuss in the class; however, you are expected to be able to draw on ideas from the authors we have read and conversations we have had about them, and put them into action for the purposes of your critical review. In seminars we will discuss what it means to do a critical review of a primary source, and how to attend to the categories used to organise and interpret facts about human rights in Asia. You must get approval in class or via email for their selected piece before you write it. You will be offered an optional consultation to discuss their plan for the paper prior to submission. 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 10/06/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Oral examination

3. Oral examination = 30% total weighting, 20 minutes duration, Week of 5 June

In a short oral exam at the end of the semester we will discuss your recollection and understanding of one of the books we have read and discussed in the course. You choose the book (except for Moyn, Week 1). You will need to be able to discuss how human rights facts are presented and interpreted by the author, and offer your own interpretations of these. The examinations will be video recorded using platforms licensed to the University. Optional practice sessions will be available outside of the usual class times. More details will be provided closer to time. 

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2


4. Participation = 10% weighting 

The success of our course depends upon the active participation of students at the presentations and seminars. Good participation means coming prepared, making thoughtful contributions, and listening to those of other participants. It means showing respect for other participants and the readings too. Attendance is not graded, but obviously, if you do not attend you cannot participate. University rules apply, as usual, for what constitutes satisfactory evidence for non-attendance. 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

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.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Nick Cheesman

Research Interests

Dr Nick Cheesman

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Nick Cheesman

Research Interests

Dr Nick Cheesman

By Appointment
By Appointment

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions