15 Credits SPRING

Aims/Description: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948. Signed by all the members of the United Nations, it proclaimed the entitlements of all individuals irrespective of their race, nationality, age or gender. In this module, we trace the intellectual origins of human rights within modern history. In a series of thematic seminars, we ask three key questions: did the 1948 Declaration mark an historical watershed, or was it instead the product of a long process of evolution? What is the relationship between national citizenship and international rights? Were human rights used to justify imperial expansion and intervention overseas, both in the past and the present day? How can we write the history of an idea? To answer these questions, we will engage with a vibrant, burgeoning literature on human rights in modern history. This will allow us to examine the role of British liberalism, American Independence and the French Revolution in the development of individual and universal rights discourses; Allied diplomats as the architects of the United Nations; the role as human rights activists; and the extent to which imperial power was extended, or curtailed, by United Nations and European Union Human Rights Declarations.

Staff Contact: Beky Hasnip
Teaching Methods: Seminars, Tutorials, Independent Study
Assessment: Course work

Information on the department responsible for this unit (History):

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Teaching timetable


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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK