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. 2018/19

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2018/19

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
EP1980, Degree course structure A.Y. 2013/14, A.Y. 2018/19
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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
E-Learning website
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 01/10/2018
End of activities 18/01/2019
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 relations. In particular, the module aims at enabling students to:

i) understand how human rights are influencing international politics and, vice versa, how developments in international relations can affect human rights promotion and protection;
ii) develop critical skills to discuss the risks and benefits of applying a human rights approach to international relations;
iii) assess current events and developments through the lens of a rights-based approach to international politics;
iv) understand and explain the reasons and the responsibilities for the existing discrepancies, or gaps, between the declaratory value of human rights and human rights violations in reality;
v) apply both theoretical knowledge and practice-oriented skills to assessing a series of case-studies in international relations;

Students will look at how existing political actors and 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 and transnational level, and what are the main challenges, objections and praises to a world order based on the central dignity of human beings and their rights rather than (only) on the State.
Starting from a brief overview of what implies addressing human rights in international politics, this module develops through six thematic blocks or clusters which address as many crucial dimensions of the studying the role and scope of human rights in international politics:
1) Conceptual approaches to human rights in International Relations;
2) Actors promoting human rights in a multi-level milieu (global, regional, non-state actors, individuals);
3) The politics of standard setting;
4) Human rights implementation in international politics;
5) Contemporary developments and human rights;
6) praises, limits and future perspectives for the current multi-layered system for the promotion and protection of human rights.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Regular class attendance is strongly recommended. The course will consist of lectures, analysis of news and events, case studies, expert seminars and student-led presentations and discussion. In all areas, the active participation of students is considered an essential element of teaching, learning, assessment and a crucial factor to develop critical skills.

Students’ preparation is 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 a thematic cluster of the module's programme. Presentations' topics are to be agreed with the lecturer before or after class.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Detailed indications on study materials are provided on the Moodle Platform.
In general, essential reading materials consist of excerpts (selected chapters) from the following texts:

- Donnelly, Jack and Whelan Daniel, International Human Rights, 5th ed. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2017);
- Forsythe, David P. , Human Rights in International Relations, 4th ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017);
- Goodhart Michael (Ed.), Human rights: politics and practice, 2nd ed., (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013);
- Hafner-Burton, Emilie M, Making Human Rights a Reality (Princeton: Princeton University Press 2013);
- Mills, Kurt and Karp, David Jason (Eds.), Human Rights Protection in Global Politics Responsibilities of States and Non-State Actors (Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015);
- Simmons, Beth A., Mobilizing for Human Rights, International Law in Domestic Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009);

The lecturer will provide weekly on the moodle platform a series of essential and optional/additional readings for each thematic cluster of the module.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)