Module Information

Module Identifier
IQ31720
Module Title
Justice, Order, Human Rights in Political Theory
Academic Year
2015/2016
Co-ordinator
Semester
Semester 2
External Examiners
  • Dr Catherine Goetze (Senior Lecturer - University of Sussex)
 
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 2 Hour Seminars
 

Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay  30%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,500 word essay  60%
Semester Assessment Seminar Participation  10%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 2,000 word essay, if essay element failed  30%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,500 word essay, if essay element failed  60%
Supplementary Assessment 3x500 word reading summary in lieu of seminar participation  10%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Critically evaluate principal debates in the twentieth century and contemporary political theory.
2. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the competing approaches to theorizing justice and order.
3. Evaluate ethical aspects of the studied theories.
4. Critically evaluate the concept of human rights and its theoretical underpinnings.
5. Discuss the overlaps and differences between normative theories of domestic and international politics.
6. Develop a conceptual apparatus to discuss and analyze international affairs from the perspectives of normative political theory.

Brief description

The module presents students with an opportunity to understand and critically examine the debates in political theory in the last seventy decades from the specific perspective of how they relate to international affairs. It is made of three parts. First, it addresses the crisis of normative political theory in the aftermath of the horrors of the world wars and the Holocaust. It then explores the responses to this crisis in the form of renewed trust in the concept of justice on the one hand and the quest to theorise the role of politics to renew political order on the other hand. Third, the module focuses on the issue of human rights to both address one of the key notions of global ethics and demonstrate how the deconstructive and constructive modes of political theorising, explored earlier in the module, affect this notion. Giving students an opportunity to read and analyse original texts by some of the most influential twentieth century political thinkers, the authors assigned for reading include Hannah Arendt, John Rawls, Michael Walzer, Michel Foucault, Jurgen Habermas, and Judith Shklar. Teaching is done in twelve interactive lectures and five two-hour, small-group seminars.

Aims

The proposed module presents students with an opportunity to understand and critically examine the debates in political theory in the last seventy decades from the specific perspective of how they relate to international affairs. It develops students' knowledge-base in the subjects of political theory, international political theory and international ethics and contributes to the department's teaching provision in these three areas. As of now, there is no module covering twentieth century political theory, while students are introduced to earlier political thought (IP32220) and political ideologies (IP12220). Starting with the crisis of normative political theory in the aftermath of the horrors of the world wars and the Holocaust, the module explores the responses to this crisis in the form of renewed trust in the concept of justice on the one hand and the quest to theorise the role of politics to renew political order on the other hand. The module then focuses on the issue of human rights to both address one of the key notions of global ethics and demonstrate how the deconstructive and constructive modes of political theorising, explored earlier in the module, affect this notion. The module gives students an opportunity to read and analyse original texts by some of the most influential twentieth century political thinkers. Particular emphasis is placed on the international aspects of these works.

Content

Lecture 1: Introduction to the module and the topics of order, justice and human rights
Lecture 2: After utopia: political thought after the Holocaust
Lecture 3: Renewed trust in justice
Lecture 4: Global distributive justice
Lecture 5: Communicative reason
Lecture 6: Global constitutionalism
Lecture 7: Focusing on injustice and violence
Lecture 8: Responding to suffering, insecurity and 'the social'
Lecture 9: Justifying human rights
Lecture 10: Critical and pragmatic defenses of international human rights
Lecture 11: Moving towards globally focused political theory
Lecture 12: Conclusion: new developments and challenges

Seminar 1: Political thought after the Holocaust
Seminar 2: Renewed trust in justice
Seminar 3: Communicative reason and global constitutionalism
Seminar 4: Negative approaches to order: focus on political action
Seminar 5: International human rights

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for assessed seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of two essays will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.

Notes

This module is at CQFW Level 6