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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2011 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Deborah Zion


Previously coded INT3180


The human body and its parts are increasingly being bought and sold internationally by pharmaceutical companies, researchers, kidney and surrogate brokers and by individuals directly. In this unit we discuss the ethical issues that arise with the international commercialisation of the human body, focusing on the concepts of coercion and exploitation. Should such markets be prohibited altogether, or simply reformed and regulated to reduce exploitation and harm? Specifically, we discuss gene patents and access to medicines in the developing world, research conducted on poor people in developing countries, international markets in organs; surrogacy and embryo trading.


On successfully completing this unit, students will have:

  1. Familiarity with the range and nature of international markets in the human body
  2. Familiarity with the major ethical concepts and arguments used in discussing markets in, and commercialisation of, the human body
  3. Skills enabling them to critically analyse key ethical and policy issues related to these practices
  4. The ability to make informed judgements about these ethical and policy issues.


Written work: 80%
Class test: 20%
In addition, students completing the unit at third-year level will be required to demonstrate independent research ability. To meet this requirement students must be able to exploit relevant resources which have not been mentioned in the subject handbook and lectures in completing their assignments, in particular the major essay.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Deborah Zion

Contact hours

One 1-hour lecture per week
One 1-hour tutorial per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Human rights theory
International studies


A first-year sequence in International Studies, Bioethics, Philosophy or Human Rights Theory.


ATS2637, CHB2100, CHB3101