The Politics of Human Rights



Zeit/Ort n.V.:

Modul Pol MR A+B

  • Di 14:15-15:45, Raum JDC R 1.282 (außer 26.11.2019)
  • Einzeltermin am 25.11.2019 12:15-13:45, Raum HS C
  • Einzeltermin am 14.02.2020 10:15-13:45, Raum 00.5 PSG
  • Einzeltermin am 14.02.2020 10:15-13:45, Raum 00.6 PSG

Voraussetzungen / Organisatorisches

Die regelmäßige Teilnahme an zwei Teilen der Veranstaltung Kombination mit Vorlesung Prof. Bielefeldt (Universal Rights for a Fragmented World?) oder Seminar Prof. Krennerich (Demokratien und Menschenrechte im Stresstest) für alle Studierende verpflichtend. Der Leistungsnachweis wird über die erfolgreiche Teilnahme an einer 90-minütigen Abschlussklausur erworben.
Die Anmeldung für die Veranstaltung erfolgt über studon.


This lecture will start by exploring human rights claims as a political phenomenon – notably as a language of struggle that reframes grievances as entitlements. Who invokes human rights today? Why might actors choose to not invoke human rights language in their political struggles? We will discuss why human rights are contested and distinguish between different types of contestation.
We will then study the codification of human rights and the establishment of human rights regimes. Here, we will look into the role that different actors played in shaping these regimes. What were their political agendas and their constituencies? We will also discuss why states ratify human rights treaties.
Next, we will focus on implementation. Implementation is an inherently political process that involves interpretation, adaptation to local circumstances and confrontation with prevailing power structures. We will seek to understand why states do or do not comply with human rights obligations. We will also investigate whether and under which conditions international treaties and transnational advocacy campaigns facilitate human rights compliance.
Finally, we will discuss where and why human rights violations occur, drawing on social science literature and taking a critical look at the empirical data that informs this literature.
The lecturing style will promote active participation. Among other exercises, students will be encouraged to apply theory to practice by discussing news about current human rights developments in class.
Combination with Lecture of Prof. Bielefeldt (Universal Rights for a Fragmented World?) or Seminar of Prof. Krennerich (Demokratien und Menschenrechte im Stresstest) available.

Empfohlene Literatur

The book Human Rights: Politics and Practice, edited by Michael Goodhart, Oxford University Press, 3rd edition 2016, is a recommended introduction to the politics of human rights. Students will have access to background material through "StudOn”.