Fall 2019 - POL 417 D100

Human Rights Theories (4)

Class Number: 7737

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    AQ 5027, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Eight upper division units in political science or permission of the department. Recommended: PHIL 220 or 320.



This course introduces students to the problems involved in the assertion of universal moral standards across political and cultural divides. These issues will be explored at a theoretical level, and in the context of specific human rights controversies.


This course will introduce students to the broad concepts involved in human rights issues, as well as provide a comparative overview of some particular aspects of human rights.  The problems involved in asserting universal moral standards across political and cultural divides will be explored first at a theoretical level, and then within the context of specific human rights controversies.  The course will explore both particular issues (i.e., freedom of expression) and their comparative context (i.e., human rights in Islamic societies). At the heart of this course lie fundamental questions about the nature and origin of morality in human society.

There will be one four-hour seminar per week.


  • Term Paper * 45%
  • Presentation 10%
  • Critiques (2) 30%
  • Participation 10%
  • Attendance 5%


* Students are required to submit their essays to the Turnitin.com service in order to get credit for the assignment.



Jack Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice Third Edition

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see http://www.sfu.ca/politics/undergraduate/program/related_links.html and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html