Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


CODE ANT3023

 
TITLE Anthropological Perspectives on Human Rights

 
LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course

 
ECTS CREDITS 4

 
DEPARTMENT Anthropological Sciences

 
DESCRIPTION This unit aims to explore various ways of studying human rights from anthropological perspectives and in the process to explore the parallel and at times intersecting trajectories of legal and anthropological discourses on human rights. While law and anthropology appear to be mutually implicated in current controversies surrounding the politics of recognition, it is often lawyers who wish to give normative value to the anthropological concept of culture and anthropologists who invoke liberal universalism to resist such attempts. This predicament is made even more challenging as it is becoming more and more difficult to insulate scholarly anthropological debate about how to conceive of culture from popular concern and political rhetoric concerning such matters as the rise of political Islam, the rights of immigrants and minorities and the validity of pursuing “Asian” or “African” modes of conceptualizing human rights. This unit will attempt to move beyond the discursive impasse between lawyers and anthropologists by arguing that this impasse reflects the poorly developed state of legal anthropology. This has led to the progressive removal of the normative element from anthropological definitions of culture and also left anthropologists with a crude and unrealistic understanding of the relationship between epistemological definition and legal codification. A more complex anthropological engagement with legal discourse will be proposed as a fundamental requisite in order to facilitate a re-formulation of human rights which takes culture seriously. In the process, students will be encouraged to develop their own perspectives on these issues.

Reading List

- Alston, P. Goodman, R. & Steiner, H. J. International Human
- Rights in Context: Law, Politics, Morals (2007) Oxford University Press; Okin, S. M. “Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women? Boston Review (1999): http://www.bostonreview.net/BR22.5/okin.html;
- Mamdani, Mahmood, ed. Beyond Rights Talk and Culture Talk: Comparative Essays on the Politics of Rights and Culture (2000), New York: St. Martin's Press; Wilson, R.A. Human Rights, Culture and - Context (1997), Pluto Press; - Wilson, R. A. and Mitchell, J. Human Rights in Global Perspective: Anthropological Studies of Rights, Claims and Entitlements (2003), Routledge; Cowan, J. Dembour, M.B. & - - Wilson, R.A. Culture and Rights (2001), Cambridge University Press; Carnegie Council, “Cultural Rights”, Human Rights Dialogue. Series 2, No.12 (2005):
http://www.cceia.org/resources/publications/dialogue/index.html

 
STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture

 
METHOD OF ASSESSMENT
Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Assignment Yes 100%

 
LECTURER/S Jean-Paul Baldacchino
Susan Hirsch
Ibtisam Sadegh
Paul Sant Cassia
David E. Zammit

 
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It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.

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