Module Details

HU921-7-AU-CO: Contemporary Issues In Human Rights And Cultural Diversity

Note: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

Year: 2017/18
Department: Human Rights Centre
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Dr Andrew Fagan
Teaching Staff: Dr Andrew Fagan, Dr Eadaoin O'Brien, Professor Ahmed Shaheed, Professor Nigel Rodley & various academics from other departments
Contact details: Kylie Sayer, Administrator, telephone: 01206 874461 email:

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This module will provide students with an opportunity to examine contemporary issues and debates in an important and highly topical area of interest for human rights theory and practice. The approach taken will be broadly multi-disciplinary. We will focus upon a broad and detailed range of controversial and challenging questions for protecting human rights within a globally complex world. The module combines the examination of the conceptual context and the practical application of human rights within culturally complex circumstances. Students will study the philosophical basis of human rights claims combined with the legal framework for applying human rights amidst cultural and religious conflict. Specifically, students will then study specific applications of human rights including the rights of indigenous peoples, the rights of women, language rights, controversies surrounding hate speech and cultural toleration.

Learning and Teaching Methods

On successfully compleeting this module, students will:

Have gained a satisfactory knowledge and understanding of the concept of culture and its relevance for the theory and practice of human rights.

Have gained a satisfactory knowledge and understanding of the ethics and politics of the so-called 'multi-culturalism'.

Have gained a satisfactory knowledge and understanding of historical and contemporary relationship between religion and the doctrine of human rights.

Have explored the significance of state secularism for the application of human rights within culturally diverse societies.

Have gained a satisfactory knowledge and understanding of existing tensions between respecting cultural diversity and compliance with human rights.

Have examined specific areas of interest in this area, including the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples.


100 per cent Coursework Mark


Assessment will consist of two 3000 word essays in the form of an end of term take-home exam, which will be distributed during the last week of term.


  • Bhikhu Parekh, Rethinking Multiculturalism, Chs 1 and 2
  • Brian Barry Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multculturalism (2001)
  • Seyla Benhabib The Claims of Culture (2003)
  • Amy Gutmann The Challenge of Multiculturalism for Political Ethics in Philosophy and Public Affairs, 22/3, 171-206 (1993)
  • Chandran Kukathas The Liberal Archipeligo: A Theory of Diversity and Freedom (2003)
  • Will Kymlicka Liberalism, Community and Culture (1989)
  • Will Kymlicka Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (1995)
  • Susan Moller Okin Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women (1995)
  • Bikhu Parekh Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural Diversity and Political Theory (2000)
  • John Rawls The Law of Peoples
  • Joseph Raz Multiculturalism in his Ethics in the Public Domain (1993)
  • Ayelelt Shachar Multicultural Jurisdictions (2002)
  • Charles Taylor The Politics of Recognition in A. Gutmann ed. Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition (1993)

Further information