1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
Enrolment not permitted
INTR3059 has been successfully completed
Topic description

Debating Human Rights in International Relations is a topic designed to provoke critical reflection on the political and philosophical questions related to human rights and international politics. The history and development of the idea of human rights, its political extension since 1948, and ongoing theoretical and political controversies, especially those related to religion, culture and cosmopolitanism, will be examined.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Investigate the origins, claims made about and contemporary useages of the concept of human rights
  • Investigate a number of the key practical and theoretical issues in the implementation of human rights
  • Familiarise students with recent debates at the levels of theory and practice regarding human rights
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of the history of the idea of human rights
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the liberal political philosophy which undergirds the human rights idea
  3. Demonstrate competence in discussing the contemporary debates to do with human rights
  4. Demonstrate appreciation of the place of culture, religion and politics in the debates over human rights
  5. Demonstrate a capacity to defend and critique a cosmopolitan account of human rights

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.