Human Rights and Global Justice

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 03 October 2024
Friday 13 December 2024
25 April 2024


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.


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay     65% 
Written Exam  Online Quiz    35% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr James Christensen, email: james.christensen@essex.ac.uk.
Dr James Christensen
Please contact govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Katharine Dommett
The University of Sheffield
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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