Intensive Course. Human Rights: Ideas and Problems

Master’s Level Intensive Course

November 10-15, 2014 | Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences (LEU) | 5 ECTS

Duration: 5 days

Teachers Henry Alexander Henrysson (University of Iceland) | Rasa Askinyte-Degesiene (Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences) | Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard (Council of Europe) | Renata Bikauskaite (Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences).

Course description: The main purpose of this course is to introduce the most significant philosophical aspects of human rights discourse, to examine the universality of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and to scrutinize human rights issues from different cultural perspectives. Firstly, historical circumstances and major stages of development of human rights theories will be presented. Secondly, the scope of validity of the key concepts will be analyzed: Are these concepts universal? In addition to the UN document, students will get acquainted with the alternative codes, such as the Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights and the Asian Human Rights Charter (pdf), and also with some attempts to formulate a corresponding universal declaration of responsibilities. Thirdly, practical applicability of the general principles will be discussed.

It will be a five-day intensive course consisting of two lectures and two seminars each day. The students will be asked to read the most important documents and selected articles that give an overview of the historical developments and the most recent debates in the philosophy of human rights. The reading list will be distributed among participating students three weeks before the course begins. Students are encouraged to suggest additional reading for the course if they think that it would be beneficial to other students or the objectives of the course in general. It is a Master’s level intensive course.

Grading: After successful completion of the course, students will be awarded 5 ECTS. Assessment is based on presentation (50%) and an essay (50%) that has to be submitted no later than one month after the final day of the course. The topic of the essay will be discussed and decided with the teachers during the course. The final written essay should deal with a relevant topic chosen by the student, and should not exceed 10 pages in length.

Reading list: The reading list will be distributed among participating students three weeks before the course begins.

Course schedule:

Monday, 10th of November

12.10-13.40 (lecture). Henry Alexander Henrysson | Human Rights: The Historical Context.

14.00-15.30 (lecture). Henry Alexander Henrysson | The Conceptual Framework of Human Rights. What is the difference between a legal, a political and an ethical conception of human rights?

15.50-17.20 (seminar). Henry Alexander Henrysson | The Conceptual Framework of Human Rights.

Tuesday, 11th of November

12.10-13.40 (lecture). Henry Alexander Henrysson | International Human Rights. Focus on UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights – its origin and role as a contemporary point of reference.

14.00-15.30 (lecture). Henry Alexander Henrysson | Value Pluralism: A Threat to Modern Conceptions of Human Rights?

15.50-17.20 (seminar). Henry Alexander Henrysson | Is there a possibility of prioritizing different human values?

17.40-19.10 Students’ presentations

Wednesday, 12th of November

12.10-13.40 (lecture). Renata Bikauskaite | Developement of Women’s Rights Discource

14.00-15.30 (lecture). Renata Bikauskaite | From Women’s Rights to Human Rights

15.50-17.20 (seminar). Rasa Askinyte-Degesiene | Human Rights: difference between ideal and practical? (part 1)

17.40-19.10 Students’ presentations

Thursday, 13th of November

10-11:30 (lecture). Renata Bikauskaite | Considerations on Moral Value of Animals in Western Philosophy (part 1)

12-13:30 (lecture). Renata Bikauskaite | Considerations on Moral Value of Animals in Western Philosophy (part 2)

15.50-17.20 (seminar). Rasa Askinyte-Degesiene | Human Rights: difference between ideal and practical? (part 2)

17.40-19.10 Students’ presentations

Friday, 14th of November

12.10-13.40 (lecture). Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard | Role of education for the promotion of human rights. Reflection of how schooling, higher education and non-formal learning can contribute to the development of democratic values.

14.00-15.30 (lecture). Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard | Internet and Democracy: Balance of Control and Freedom. Concept of citizenship in different contexts and communities, especially in its web 2.0 extensions. Cognitive and social competences that are necessary today for being an active and participatory citizen.

15.50-17.20 (seminar). Pascale Mompoint-Gaillard | Social justice: How should we cope with inequalities?

17.40-19.10 Students’ presentations.

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