First cycle
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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

Teacher in charge PIETRO DE PERINI SPS/04

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

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

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

Start of activities 25/09/2017
End of activities 19/01/2018
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2013 course timetable

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) understand the risks and benefits of applying a human rights approach to international relations;
iii) assess current events through the lens of a rights-based approach to politics;
iv) understand and explain the discrepancy between the declaratory value of human rights and human rights abuses in reality;
v) apply both theoretical knowledge and practice-oriented skills to assessing a serious of issues in 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, with a specific focus on the different typologies of actors that contribute to the application of human rights at the global and regional level.
Specifically, students will look at how existing political structures have shaped and are shaping concepts of human rights and how human rights have shaped international politics, 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 (only) the State.
In this light, the teaching module is divided into 6 sections:

1) Introduction (concepts; a human rights-based approach to international politics, the place of human rights in International relations theories).
2) Global and regional actors for the application of human rights (UN organs, UN human rights machinery, UN agencies and programmes; Regional organisations and regional bodies for the protection of human rights).
3) Non-state actors for the application of human rights (Transnational civil society; NHRIs, Local Authorities, human rights defenders).
4) Promoting human rights in international politics (political legitimacy. standard setting; the quest for consensus; double standards; the law and politics of human rights education).
5) Human rights implementation in International politics (human rights in states’ and EU’s foreign policy; human rights monitoring/electoral observation; the application of international criminal law).
6) Human rights and global transformation/challenges (human security, human development, terrorism, democratisation processes following the Arab uprisings).
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Regular class attendance is strongly recommended. The course will consist of lectures, discussions, case studies, expert seminars 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 a written exam with open questions covering the whole programme of the module.
Attending students are invited to make presentations on a topic related to the module programme and agreed with the lecturer. Engaging in a student presentation will provide up to 3 points that will be summed to the mark of the written exam.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Detailed indications on study materials are provided on the Moodle Platform.
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).
- Forsythe, David P. , Human Rights in International Relations, 3rd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012).

For each section of the module essential and optional/additional readings will be provided weekly on the moodle platform.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)