Faculty of Arts

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit



Dr Narelle Warren



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


The unit introduces students to cross-cultural notions of human rights. Anthropology places human rights in broader analyses of power, politics and social inequality. Tensions exist between anthropological notions of cultural plurality and cultural relativism and the universalism inherent in dominant human rights discourse. Yet critical anthropologists argue that anthropologists are ethically bound to defend human rights. This unit will explore the debates within anthropology over human rights. It will explore the notion of structural violence and anthropological human rights activism with ethnographic examples from a range of settings and marginalised populations. In doing so, this unit will introduce students to key concepts and debates in the anthropology of human rights and provide fresh, rich understandings of the operation of power.


On completion of the unit, students should be able to:

  1. have a sophisticated introductory comprehension of key concepts and debates in the anthropology of politics and human rights;
  2. equip themselves with a fresh and nuanced understanding of the importance, scope and distinctiveness of anthropology's contribution to the analysis of power in Western, non-Western, post-colonial countries;
  3. engage in a critical appraisal of different theoretical approaches and methodological issues from the discipline of anthropology to the study of human rights;
  4. appreciate and get familiar with critical anthropology;
  5. grasp, critique, and develop an argument, and demonstrate its effective application.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


Twelve credit points of second-year Arts units. It is highly recommended that students only take this unit after they have completed two gateway units in Anthropology.


ATS2376, COS2350, COS3350