HUMAN RIGHTS: HISTORICAL AND THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES

Academic Year 2015/2016 - 1° Year

Detailed Course Content

  • Natural Law and Natural Rights Theories

    This module is concerned with examining the shift toward an increasingly secular understanding of natural law and natural rights theories dealing with authors belonging to the early modern age from Grotius to Kant. This shift is marked by the emergence of two corresponding theories : a secular state of nature from which people implicitly contract into civil society and an international state of nature from which states explicitly contract into treaties and international law. This part of the course examines how these new theories employ both traditional and innovative understandings of the rights and duties of individuals, communities , states, and international society as a whole

  • Human Rights: A Historical Approach

    This module analyzes an important historical moment that marks the passage from natural law and natural rights to what we call today "human rights". It shall consider the redefinition of the concept of rights, understood as human rights through the American Revolution and the French one. This part of the program will offer conflicting assessments of these two revolutions, taking into account however in which way they have helped to influence modern conceptions of human rights.


Textbook Information

  • Natural Law and Natural Rights Theories

    J. FINNIS, Natural Law and Natural Rights, Oxford, 2011
    R. TUCK, Natural Rights Theories: Their Origin and Development, Cambridge, 1979

  • Human Rights: A Historical Approach

    I. L. HUNT, The French Revolution and Human Rights : A Brief Documentary History, Bedford, 1996
    II. M. ISHAY, The History of Human Rights: from Ancient Times to the Globalization Era, University of California Press, 1996
    III. S. MOYN, The Last Utopia : Human Rights in History, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012 (paperback edition)