Human Rights and Global Justice

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 07 October 2021
Friday 17 December 2021
17 September 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module explores the nature and foundations of international obligations. It asks what we owe to people in other countries, and what they can demand of us as a matter of right.

Questions to be addressed include the following: Who owes what to the very poor? Are citizens of affluent countries complicit in the creation and maintenance of world poverty? Does justice demand the elimination of global inequality? What human rights do we have? When is international trade unfair? Do states have a right to close their borders to outsiders? Under what conditions (if any) is it permissible to wage war? What are the poor and oppressed permitted to do in order to alleviate their plight?

We will address these questions by considering the answers that they have received in important recent works of normative political philosophy.

Module aims

To introduce you to, and to stimulate your interest in, the study of human rights and global justice from the perspective of normative political theory.
To equip you with an understanding of the relevance of theoretical debates about global justice to public policy controversies that involve global justice.
To encourage you to question your own beliefs about what a just world looks like and to enable you to begin to formulate a vision of such a world for yourself.

Module learning outcomes

To understand the nature of normative argumentation and its value to the study of politics.
To engage in clear verbal and written normative argumentation. You will acquire a greater confidence and ability to express what you believe is just and to express your scepticism about proposals about global justice.
To scrutinise arguments made by politicians and other prominent figures in the media about human rights and global justice.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

The module is organized around a weekly two-hour seminar. In the first part of the seminar, the module supervisor will present a lecture. The second part of the seminar is devoted to class discussion. Student participation in the second half of the seminar is absolutely crucial. You are expected to do the required reading for each seminar, and to be prepared to engage in discussion on this material. If you and your fellow students are well prepared, then you are more likely to enjoy the class discussion, to benefit from it, and to succeed in the module.


  • Frowe, Helen. (2016) The ethics of war and peace: an introduction, London: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Peter Singer. (1972) 'Famine, Affluence, and Morality', in Philosophy & Public Affairs: Wiley. vol. 1, pp.229-243
  • Pogge, Thomas. (2004) '"Assisting" the Global Poor', in The ethics of assistance: morality and the distant needy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press., pp.260-288
  • McMahan, Jeff. (2007) '“Just War” in A companion to contemporary political philosophy', in A companion to contemporary political philosophy, Malden, MA: Blackwell.
  • Charles R. Beitz. (2001) 'Does global inequality matter?', in Metaphilosophy: Wiley. vol. 32, pp.95-112
  • Caney, Simon. (2010) 'Climate change and the duties of the advantaged', in Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. vol. 13 (1) , pp.203-228
  • James, Aaron. (2013) Fairness in practice: a social contract for a global economy, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Risse, M. (2007) 'Fairness in trade I: obligations from trading and the Pauper-Labor Argument', in Politics, Philosophy & Economics. vol. 6 (3) , pp.355-377
  • Miller, David. (1995) On nationality, New York: Clarendon Press.
  • (2014) Contemporary debates in applied ethics, Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. vol. Contemporary debates in philosophy
  • Tan, Kok-Chor. (2004) Justice without borders: cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and patriotism, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Barry, Brian; Goodin, Robert E. (1992) Free movement: ethical issues in the transnational migration of people and of money, London: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
  • Caney, Simon. (2009) 'Cosmopolitanism and Justice', in Contemporary debates in political philosophy, Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. vol. Contemporary debates in philosophy
  • Singer, Peter. (2016) One world now: the ethics of globalization, New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Wellman, Carl. (2011) The moral dimensions of human rights, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Nussbaum, Martha Craven. (2011) Creating capabilities: the human development approach, Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay   19/01/2022  65% 
Written Exam  Online Quiz    35% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Malte Jauch, email: m.jauch@essex.ac.uk.
Malte Jauch
Module Supervisor: Malte Jauch, m.jauch@essex.ac.uk Module Administrator: Edmund Walker, govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 626 hours, 10 (1.6%) hours available to students:
616 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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