Human Rights Theories
This class is taught in 11-1 by Andrew Heard
This course will introduce you to the broad concepts involved in human
rights issues, as well as provide a comparative overview of some particular
aspects of human rights. Controversies in the concept of rights, and problems
involved in asserting universal moral standards across political and cultural
divides will be explored first at a theoretical level. These issues will
then be applied in context of specific human rights controversies.
Michael Donnelly, Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice (2nd.ed.)
Stephen Satris, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Moral
Issues, (12 th.ed.)
Students are required to prepare a paper of about 15 typed pages
as the basis for a class presentation. Two copies of the paper must be
handed in at class in the week prior to the presentation. One of these
copies will be put on Reserve for other students to read. The presentations
should be of approximately 15 minutes duration and give a broad review
of the material in the paper. A late penalty of a letter grade per day
will be enforced.
Each student must also write 1500-word critiques, about 6 typed pages
double-spaced (it may be handwritten) of 2 other student papers. The critique
must be handed in at the class when the paper being critiqued is presented.
late penalty of a letter grade per day will be enforced.
The allocation of marks for these assignments is as follows:
To help you edit your papers prior to submission, download the essay assessment sheet here; when your essay is graded, you will receive an annotated copy of this sheet to help you quickly see the strengths of your essay, and which areas could have been improved.
The range of topics that may be covered in this class, and from which students may choose to do their papers and presentations, include:
1) Human Rights in Africa
The body of the essays should be about 4,500 to 5,000 words (roughly 15 double-spaced, typed pages of text) and must be handed in the week before your presentation is due. A penalty of one letter grade per day will be enforced for late papers.
A significant range of sources (10 minimum) should be used as the research basis for the essay.
In order to receive credit for the assignment, all students must submit both a paper version of the essay to the instructor as well as an electronic version to Turnitin.com. Sign up for Turnitin, if you haven't already done so. The register for the course: Class ID: 3708672 and the Password is the classroom number WMC3220 (use capital letters). The electronic version is due on the same day as the paper version and must match the paper version.
Students are reminded that proper credit must be given to other authors' work. When another author's words are used they must be identified as quotations, BY USING EITHER QUOTATION MARKS OR AN INDENTED QUOTATION. The use of another author's particular ideas must also be credited in a note. All work submitted for this class must be the student's original work done for this class.
Readings on these topics may be found in a variety of sources. There is a bibliography on human rights available for finding material in journals and books.
Connect to this web site's Web Resources page for links to helpful research material.
The following books are available on RESERVE at the library to help you with your research:
GUIDELINES FOR CRITIQUES
The critiques are due in class on the day that the essay is presented,
and they should be a maximum of five typed pages (1500 words). The
purpose of a critique is to convey two essential messages: what the essay
was about, and how effective the author was in conveying his or her message.
In this assignment, you are expected to provide a summary of the main points
that the author was trying to make, and to comment critically on how well
she or he expressed the arguments. What was the essential message that
the author tried to communicate in this essay - why was it written? What
were the most important elements of the argument she or he tried to construct
in order to get that message across? How convincing were the arguments,
and why? Was there consistency in the arguments and examples? What points
would you make either to support the author's central message or to challenge
it? You should draw on material from a MINIMUM of 4 other sources beyond
the essay; this outside material should be referred to substantially to
support your comments on the essay.
Make sure that your own paper is written with care. Organize your points
logically. Include substantive, even if brief, introductory and concluding
paragraphs. Pay close attention to your grammar and choice of words, too.
GUIDELINES FOR ORAL PRESENTATIONS
Each student must do a presentation of their essay’s topic. The presentation
is intended as a brief discussion of the paper's issues that will set up class
discussion in the period that follows.
If you feel nervous about giving presentions in front of a class, this artcle from the Globe & Mail may help.