School of History

HST5405 - Human Rights in History: Origins, Foundations, Prospects

Module code: HST5405

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 2

Module Convenor: Dr Mira Sigelberg

Where do human rights come from? Historians began treating 'human rights' as a distinct historical subject about a decade ago, and since then the field has grown considerably. In this short time the field has shifted from a celebration of the origins and roots of a universal language for making moral claims, to more critical interpretations of historical origins that question the consequences of this inheritance for contemporary politics and global justice. In this QMUL Model module, we will examine the origins of the idea of human rights, how it became institutionalized in law and international politics, and how its history and prospects have become so fiercely contested today. We will reflect on the history of abolitionism, human rights, and humanitarianism in a global setting, and analyse the impact of modern international and multi-cultural perspectives on the evolution of 'human rights history'.

Assessment: Essay 1 (1,000 words) [25%] and Essay 2 (3,000 words) [75%]
Level: 5