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This seminar will focus on human rights and its critics from a historical and comparative perspective. We will explore the factors that have given rise to radically different conception of rights and justice (i.e. political, economic, cultural, religious, ideological) and look at their implementation and the obstacles at the local, national, and international levels. What is the relationship and relevance of the international human rights movement to local notions of rights? What impact is this having on local gender relations and the relationships of women to their states and communities? Are human rights NGOs weakening or strengthening the nation-states in Southeast Asia. are they sites of resistance or complicity? The seminar introduces students to different conceptions of rights, and social justice, including feminist critiques of rights discourse and of 'development', ethnographic studies on the relationship between attitudes towards bodily integrity and human rights, the debates about poverty, economic development and access to adequate health care as human rights. We shall draw upon a wide range of sources from theoretical works, philosophical and anthropological critiques of rights discourse, and NGO documents. On completion of the subject students should have a broad historical, comparative and critical perspective on the debates about rights and justice in Southeast Asia.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject should:
- have a comprehensive grasp of established international and human rights discourses the emergent critiques that destabilize rights discourse;
- demonstrate an understanding of the larger international political arena of human rights work, beyond the realm of academic discussions and theory;
- have a capacity to articulate their findings and views in oral and written presentations; and
- have an advanced understanding of major issues and sensitivities regarding contemporary Asia.
Students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:
- receive new ideas, contextualise judgments. and adapt knowledge to new situations;
- criticalyl analyse and synthesis competing theories of rights and their application to diverse examples
- engage with and process different critical perspectives across the interdisciplinary field of asian studies
- develop independent thought and arguments;
- demonstrate effective written and oral communication through seminar discussions and debates. critical reading skills through the reading notebook, the preparation and execution of written assessment exercises. exposure to and emulation of competing genres and protocols of critical writing;
- become skilled in information management and information literacy through the practice of library and archival research and engagement with electronic databases;
- demonstrate teamwork, flexibility, and tolerance through group discussions in seminars. reception of new ideas and opinions. engaging and cooperating with other people from diverse backgrounds; and
- demonstrate time management and planning through managing and organizing workloads for recommended reading, seminar presentations, and assessment requirements.
Last updated: 3 November 2022