Human Rights Protection - General Overview and Criticial Approaches
The course will give an overall assessment of different ideas and critical approaches of human rights. In its introductory part the course will develop the origins of the western human rights tradition, i.e. the theories of natural rights and the social contract (Locke, Blackstone), the American and French declarations of rights and their justification (Paine), the universal protection of rights based upon the notion of human dignity (Kant), and the consequential approach of liberty (Mill). The second part of the course will examine the alternative western conceptions: the “general will” (Rousseau), the British tradition (Burke), the utilitarian critic (Bentham), and the socialism (Marx). The third part is about the contemporary justifications of human rights (Rawls, Dworkin), and the post Second World War international and European protection of human rights (civil, political, social rights, individual and group rights, human rights and democracy). Finally, the course examines the contemporary critics of universal human rights, e.g. feminism (MacKinnon), communitarianism (Sandel), critical legal studies (Tushnet), and cultural relativism (with the help of texts from Sen).
The main objective of the course is to offer students a general review of the ideas of human rights protection and the contemporary critics of human rights. The course pursues a broader, holistic conception of human rights, which sees the intimate relation between the idea of human rights and its domestic, foreign and international applications in the beginning of the twenty-first century. Moreover, the course affords students the intellectual foundation and several basic materials for ploughing the rich field of human rights, whether in the academic or in practice, whether in an international or domestic context.
Louis Henkin, Sarah H. Cleveland, Laurence R. Helfer, Gerald L. Neuman, Diane F. Orentlichter, Human Rights, New York, Foundation Press, 2009. ISBN 9781599412610
Micheline R. Ishay (ed.), The Human Rights Reader, Major Political Essays, Speeches, and Documents From the Bible to the Presents, New York: Routledge, 2007 (2nd edition). ISBN 9780415951609
Ronald Dworkin: Justice for Hedgehogs, Cambridge, Mass., London, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011. 9780674046719
Jeremy Waldron (ed.), Nonsense upon Stilts, Bentham, Burke and Marx on the Rights of Man London and New York, Methuen, 1987. ISBN 9780416918908
Michel Rosenfeld, András Sajó (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Law, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN9780199578610
Rainer Forst, The Right to Justification: Elements of a Constructivist Theory of Justice, New York: Columbia University Press, 2012, trans. Jeffrey Flynn, ISBN 9780231147088