AZA4810 - The globalisation of civil and human rights - 2017

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Social Science


Ms Busisiwe Khaba

Unit guides


South Africa

  • First semester 2017 (Day)


The unit explores the emerging international framework for civil and human rights since 1945. The relationship between universal notions of justice and differences of gender, culture and belief, and potential differences between local and global understandings of 'rights' are looked at through an African lens. Specific issues such as women's rights, freedom of speech, capital punishment, economic justice, unfair trade, poverty, and migration are discussed within the framework of African-specific case studies. In addition, the unit examines the development of global movements and organisations, new technologies and tactics of protest and the formation of virtual communities of activism.


Students successfully completing the unit will be expected to demonstrate:

  1. a comprehensive understanding of the key intellectual and political debates about the nature of justice, civil rights and human rights on a global scale, as well as the relationship between universal notions of justice and rights and arguments about difference and diversity;
  2. a thorough grasp of the key differences and similarities in the arguments, objectives, strategies and outcomes of significant campaigns for justice and rights during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, of the links and tensions between local and global campaigns and movements, and of the development of global civil and human rights frameworks;
  3. knowledge of the unique challenge that political and cultural debates in Africa pose to the development of civil and human rights frameworks.
  4. strong skills in the critical reading of a variety of texts, including contemporary documents, polemical literature and campaign material, the academic scholarship based upon those texts and the theoretical and conceptual debates about justice and rights;
  5. strong skills in critical oral and written assessment of the academic scholarship, including methods, assumptions and uses of evidence, and in organising and defending a verbal and written argument based upon those assessments;
  6. a capacity to devise, plan and successfully complete a detailed case study, including significant documentary research, that evaluates the significance of a particular campaign, organisation or issue; and
  7. a capacity to reflect upon and make critical use of a range of resources including, where relevant, on-line materials, film and visual images.


Within semester assessment: 80% + Exam: 20%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 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