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The History and Philosophy of Human Rights


Module description

The module will introduce you to the debates on historicism and critique and will develop your critical abilities. It will introduce a number of philosophical and theoretical approaches, including Hegelian phenomenology, psychoanalysis, deconstruction and the ethics of alterity. The historical and philosophical approach to rights will allow you to understand and critique the problems of both positivistic and contextual approaches to law.

Indicative module content

  • The End of Human Rights
  • Natural Law, Natural Right and Justice in Greece and Rome
  • Liberal Theories of Rights
  • From 1789 to 1989: From Natural Rights to Human Rights
  • Universalism and Relativism
  • The Subject of Rights
  • The Colour of Rights: Rights, Identity and Recognition
  • The Gender of Rights: Rights and Desire
  • The Human Rights of the Other
  • Postmodern Just Wars