First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Economics and Political Science
Course unit
EPP5070008, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
EP1980, Degree course structure A.Y. 2013/14, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination HUMAN RIGHTS IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS (MOD. A)
Department of reference Department of Political Science, Law, and International Studies
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English

No lecturer assigned to this course unit

Integrated course for this unit
Course unit code Course unit name Teacher in charge

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses SPS/04 Polticial Science 6.0

Mode of delivery (when and how)
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Organisation of didactics
Type of hours Credits Hours of
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 45 105.0 No turn

Start of activities 25/09/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018

Examination board
Examination board not defined


Common characteristics of the Integrated Course unit

Prerequisites: Knowledge of both methodological and substantive fundamentals of international relations and international organisation. Some prior knowledge of the European integration process is useful.
Target skills and knowledge: 1) to familiarise with a number of concepts of the current international relations and their interplay with human rights principles and standards;
2) to deepen the knowledge of the role and influence of human rights in contemporary international politics
3) to assess practices of MLG, international /European organisations and international politics which are relevant to understand the current challenges of the multipolar and multilateral world in view of a human rights –based approach.
4) apply both theoretical knowledge and practice-oriented skills to policy-making.
Examination methods: The integrated course (12 ECTs) proposes one overall grade, composed of two parts, reflecting Module A on "Human Rights in International Politics" and Module B on "Theory and Practice of Multi-level Governance". Each part consists of a combination of written assignments and oral presentations as indicated in the Syllabus of each Module, assessed separately. The final course grade will be the average resulting from the marks of each part.
Assessment criteria: The student will have to demonstrate a good command of the course topics, ability to analyse and critically approach issues dealing with the applied concept of MLG and its practices as well as with practice-oriented skills to policy-making in the international and European context, with particular attention to the human rights paradigm, demonstrating linguistic competence and using specific international organisation and human rights dictionary.

Specific characteristics of the Module

Course unit contents: This module aims at deepening students’ knowledge of the role of human rights in contemporary international politics. In particular, it aims at enabling students to:
i) appreciate how human rights are influencing international politics and vice-versa;
ii) assess current events through the lens of a rights-based approach to politics;
iii) understand the discrepancy between the declaratory value of human rights and human rights abuses in reality;
iv) apply both theoretical knowledge and practice-oriented skills to policy-making.
Starting from a brief overview of international politics and human rights, the module will then focus on three dimensions of a rights-based approach to international politics: promotion, implementation and change. Specifically, students will look at how existing political structures have shaped and are shaping concepts of human rights, how such concepts are translated, applied or contested at the global level, and what are the main challenges, objections and praises to a new world order based on human beings and their rights rather than the State.
In this light, the teaching will be divided in 5 sections:
1) Introduction (concepts; theories; actors; processes);
2) Promoting human rights in international politics (political legitimacy; standard setting; the quest for consensus; regional comparison)
3) Human rights implementation (the politics of rights; makers/takers/breakers; human rights and foreign policy; human rights monitoring);
4) Human rights and global transformation/challenges (human rights, democracy and sustainable development; human security and human rights; human rights and migration);
5) Conclusions (objections to human rights; praises for human rights; a human-centred agenda).
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Regular class attendance is strongly recommended. The course will consist of lectures, discussions, practical exercise, role plays, case studies, and student-led presentations. In all areas, the active participation of students is considered an essential element of teaching, learning and assessment.
Students’ preparation will be assessed through:
1) a group presentation on a topic chosen by the group among a list of issues presented by the lecturer throughout the course;
2) a written exam with short questions covering the whole programme.
The final grade will be the average resulting from the marks of each component.
N.B.: Students who are not able to attend classes and deliver the group presentation are required to submit an essay (2000 words), on a topic agreed with the lecturer, and sit the written exam.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Detailed indications on Study materials are provided on the Moodle Platform before the start of the course. For each part of the course specific readings will be provided in due time.
In general, reading materials will consist of excerpts from the following texts:
- Donnelly, Jack, International Human Rights, 5th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2017).
- Goodhart Michael (Ed.), Human rights: politics and practice, 2nd ed., (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013).
- OHCHR, Manual on Human Rights Monitoring (New York/Geneva: OHCHR, 2011).
- Simmons, Beth A., Mobilizing for human rights: international law in domestic politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Additional suggested readings for further study (not subject to examination) include:
- Baylis John, Smith Steve, Owens Patricia (Eds.), The globalization of world politics: an introduction to international relations, 6th ed. (Oxford : Oxford University press, 2014).
- Brysk, Alison, Global Good Samaritans: Human Rights as Foreign Policy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
- Cardenas, Sonia, Conflict and compliance: state responses to international human rights pressure (Philadelphia: PENN, 2007).
- Forsythe, David P. , Human Rights in International Relations, 3rd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).
- Hafner-Burton, Emilie M., Making human rights a reality (Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University press, 2013).
- Risse, Thomas, Stephen C. Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink, The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)