First cycle
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Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Economics and Political Science
Course unit
EPP9085740, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
EP1980, Degree course structure A.Y. 2013/14, A.Y. 2019/20
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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 23/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
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.
Target skills and knowledge: 1) to familiarise with a number of concepts of 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 multi-level governance, international /regional organisations and other international actors in international politics that are relevant to understand the contemporary challenges of the multipolar world from the perspective of human rights;
4) to assess the contemporary challenges to multilateralism at different levels of governance and their impact for the functioning of the multi-layered regime for the protection of human rights, both general human rights and human rights of individual subjects (such as persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities);
5) to 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 "Human Rights Political Analysis". 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 Multi-level governance and its practices as well as with practice-oriented skills to policy-making in the international context, with particular attention to the human rights paradigm, demonstrating linguistic competence, the ability to sustain an argument, 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 seeks to enable students to:

i) understand how human rights are influencing international politics and, vice versa, how developments and decisions concerning international relations can affect human rights promotion and protection as well as their regression;
ii) develop critical skills to discuss the risks and benefits of applying a human rights-based approach to international relations;
iii) assess current events and developments through the lens of a human 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 assess a series of case-studies, some of which autonomously proposed by students;

Students will look at how existing political actors and structures have shaped and are shaping the conception of human rights and at how human rights have shaped international politics. The focus is set also on how human rights concepts are translated, applied or contested at the global and transnational level, and on 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 States' rights and interests.

Starting from a brief overview of what implies addressing human rights in international politics, this module develops over six thematic blocks or "clusters" which address as many relevant dimensions for understanding and critically addressing the role and scope of human rights in international relations:
1) Conceptual approaches to human rights in International Relations theories;
2) Actors promoting human rights in a multi-level milieu (global and regional actors, transnational non-governmental actors, local governments and their international networks, individuals and human rights defenders);
3) The politics of international standard setting (actors, interests and the achievement of consensus);
4) Human rights implementation in international politics with specific regards to states' and European Union's foreign policy;
5)Human rights and development from the perspective of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development implementation;
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 which will provide also room for: analysis of news and contemporary events taken from the media, case studies, experts' seminars, and student-led presentations and discussions in class. In all thematic areas, the active participation of students is considered an essential element of teaching, learning and assessment and it is understood as a crucial factor to develop critical skills on the addressed topics.

Students’ preparation is assessed through a final written exam made of open questions covering the whole programme of the module (only "essential" readings, see below)..

Attending students will be invited to make presentations on a topic related to one of the thematic clusters into which the module's programme is structured. Presentations' topics and methodologies are to be agreed with the lecturer before or after class or during office hours.
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, 3rd ed., (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016);
- 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 on a weekly basis in the moodle platform all the essential readings and a series of optional/additional readings (academic articles, other chapters) and documents for each thematic cluster of the module.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Problem based learning
  • Case study
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Questioning
  • Peer feedback
  • Active quizzes for Concept Verification Tests and class discussions
  • Students peer review

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)
  • Kaltura (desktop video shooting, file loading on MyMedia Unipd)
  • Top Hat (active quiz, quiz)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities Sustainable Cities and Communities Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions Partnerships for the Goals