First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Economics and Political Science
Course unit
SPL1000617, A.A. 2019/20

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

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
SP1421, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 9.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination HUMAN RIGHTS
Department of reference Department of Political Science, Law, and International Studies
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge ELENA PARIOTTI IUS/20

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines IUS/20 Philosophy of Law 9.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 9.0 65 160.0 No turn

Start of activities 02/03/2020
End of activities 12/06/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2008 course timetable

Examination board
Examination board not defined

Prerequisites: The topics that are covered by the course require (a) general analysis and synthesis skills; (b) the basic knowledge of the main events and processes of modern and contemporary history. The knowledge of the history of political thought and of the basic notions of Public law is surely useful in order to understand most of the topics of the course.
Target skills and knowledge: By passing the exam, students reach the following knowledge:
(i) basic categories dealing with the notion, the positivization and the internationalisation of human rights; (ii) the main tools of treaty international law on human rights; (iii) basic categories to look at the institutional, political and legal processes associated to the internationalisation and the evolution of human rights.
Students reach the following skills:
(i) being able to apply the above mentioned knowledge to the analysis of the human rights promotion, protection and implementation processes;
(ii) to be able to critically address the main issues involved by the justification of human rights and the functions ascribed to rights within given social and political contexts;
(iii) to be able to correctly and efficaciously use the legal and theoretical language of human rights studies field;
(iv) to be able to recognize arguments to support or orient human rights practice.
Examination methods: Final exam consists in an oral colloquium that lasts about 20-30 minutes and develops through three questions covering the content of the syllabus.
The first question will be very broad and require students to connect several elements of their knowledge, through a given theoretical path and within an integrated frame. The second question is a narrower one and deals with internationalization processes/mechanisms/tools, also by referring to open or troubling issues. The third question regards topics involved by the justification of human rights and human rights practice.
When answering all the questions, students are required to show they have reached the following knowledge and skills: to know the meaning of the main notions involved in the topics addressed in the course; to use the proper legal and philosophical lexicon; being able to apply the relevant theoretical notions. When answering the third question, moreover, students are required to be able to construe and acknowledge arguments, so that they can show to have reached those skills of critical thinking and effective communication that are involved by both the analysis of human rights practice and the advocacy activity.
Students may choose to write a paper on an issue that has to be agreed with the teacher and present it either in classes or during the exam. The paper should be approximately 20,000 characters lenght and comply with basic standard of quality, i.e. being written in correct Italian or English language; focusing on a specific issue; pursuing the selected aims through a well-constructed and informed path.
Students have six dates at their disposal to take this exam.
Assessment criteria: Score for final exam will be from 18 to 30 cum laude.
Students shall show
(1) to have acquired the basic information on (a) the theoretical foundations implied by the notion of human rights; (b) on legal affirmation and evolution processes involving human rights, by being able to orient themselves within the framework of the international and European Community sources on human rights;
(2) to be able to (a) properly use the philosophical and legal lexicon implied by human rights studies; (b) critically analyze, assess and produce arguments on human rights justification, promotion and implementation.
If students write a paper and present it either in classes or during the exam, it will contribute to the final score by getting the laude, provided that the minimum score of 28/30 is reached by answering the standard 3 questions. In order to be assessed for the final score, the paper should be approximately 20,000 characters lenght and comply with basic standard of quality, i.e. being written in correct Italian or English language; focusing on a specific issue; pursuing the selected aims through a well-constructed and informed path.
Course unit contents: 1. Natural rights and human rights 'paradigm': theoretical analogies and differences (6 hours);
2. Human rights as legal rights: definition, sources and structure (12 hours);
3. Preliminary notions for the legal understanding of human rights: rule of law, constitutional state, internal and external sovereignty, international law and international community features (12 hours);
4. Legalization and evolution of human rights: mechanisms and trends (5 hours);
5. Internationalization of human rights: relevant legal and philosophical notions, processes, and open issues by referring to some relevant field of application (notion of vulnerability; global distributive justice paradigms and social rights justification and normative content; cultural rights, group-rights and peoples' rights; non-state actors responsibilization toward human rights) (20 hours);
6. Main issues dealing with the justification of human rights; the potential and limits of rights language (10 hours).
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: For each of the topics covered by the syllabus, classes will develop through:
(1) Lecturing, in which the teacher introduces the main notions and topics, also by using the tecnique of questioning;
(2) Interactive lecturing: discussion of specific issues and points;
(3) "flipped-classroom": students are invited to work on reading material, which is subsequentely discussed during class;
(4) working-groups: in the latest part of the course, volunteer students are invited to work in groups by reading given material and presenting the results during classes;
(5) seminars with scholars/experts on some specific topics: in order to actively participate in the seminars students will be given preparatory readings through the distant learning platform;
(6) individual deepening of topics: on voluntary basis, students will be given the chance to work out a short essay (20,000 characters) on a topic that will be agreed with the teacher;
(6) continuous self-assessment of the individual degree of understanding of the topics covered by the syllabus: through (a) questionnaire that students are invited to answer at home and that are discussed in class; (b) mind-maps that often students are required to work out, to become fully aware of the links among notions, topics, and issues.
Slides that are used during classes, reading materials, self-assessment questionnaires and any further material/information for orienting students in going more deeply into some key-issues are sistematically delivered to students through the on line teaching platform "Moodle" (
Additional notes about suggested reading: A) All students are supposed to have a well-founded knowledge of the main treaty international law on human rights

B) Eramus or foreign students who think not to have a sufficient degree of competence in Italian language may study on the following textbooks and to take the exam in English:

Ivinson, D., Rights, Acumen, Stocksfield, U.K. (except the chapters 4 and 5), 2008.

Smith, Rhona K.M., , International Human Rights, Oxford University Press, 2010: pp. 5-188; chapter 23; and five chapters to be choosen by the student among chapters 12-22.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Pariotti E., I diritti umani: concetto, teoria, evoluzione. Padova: CEDAM, 2013. Obbligatorio per tutti gli studenti. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Facchi, A., Breve storia dei diritti umani. Bologna: il Mulino, 2007. Per i soli studenti non frequentanti, in aggiunta al testo menzionato al punto 1. il testo e' disponibile anche in edizioni successive. Cerca nel catalogo