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2024/25 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PRHS2000 Human Rights and Religion

20 creditsClass Size: 65

Module manager: Johanna Stiebert

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2024/25

Module replaces

THEO2320 Theology and Ethical Theory

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

How do religious commitments and commitments to human rights affect each other, in theory and in practice? Are religious communities the sources, the guardians or the enemies of human rights? Are human rights ‘sacred’ – and should they be? This interdisciplinary module examines the relationship between religion and human rights from historical, theological, philosophical and social-scientific perspectives. We begin with an overview of different theoretical approaches and move to a consideration of contemporary case studies.


• To explore the theoretical, historical and political background of current debates about the relationship between religion and human rights.
• To enable students to reflect critically on the relationship between religion and human rights from a range of disciplinary perspectives: historical, theological, philosophical, social-scientific.
• To equip students to research, and develop informed and critical responses to, specific case studies or issues in religion and human rights.

Learning outcomes
By the end of the module students should be able to:
• Understand and critically evaluate a range of perspectives on key issues in the relationship between religion and human rights, applying two or more of these approaches: theological, philosophical, historical, social-scientific;
• Give a critical account of the background to, and different perspectives on, one or more contemporary debates about religion and human rights;
• Apply their understanding to a case study on religion and human rights.

Skills outcomes
Ability to connect moral and political issues with religious issues


Part 1: Overview, Issues, Debates
• Historical Introduction: Why Human Rights? Why Not Human Rights?
• Human Rights and Religious Ethics
• ‘Universal’ Human Rights and Particular Traditions
• Human Rights in Global and Postcolonial Context
• Human Rights and Religion in Policy and Practice
• Are Human Rights Sacred?
Part 2: Human Rights and Religion in Context – Case Studies This gives an indication of the themes to be covered; case studies will usually take a narrower focus, e.g. a particular geographical area or current controversy
• Gender, and gender-based violence
• Sexuality
• Migration and Asylum
• Poverty
• Religious Freedom
• Torture

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours180.00
Total Contact hours20.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Work on reflective log and independent reading to support them, 55 hours; preparation of essay (which draws on reflective log), 80 hours; preparation for lectures and seminars, 20 hours; reading/recap in the reading week, 24 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Online reflective logs will enable student progress to be monitored by the module leader (this is particularly important in the seminar-based section of the module, which will probably be taught by different members of staff each week).

Short online writing task - if students complete all 3 entries this allows for formative feedback (only 2 will contribute to assessment).

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay2500 Word Essay70.00
Reflective logx2 300 word entries30.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Reflective log: Students select 2 areas to focus on at the start of the course (with guidance) – one theoretical and one case-study related. The weekly/fortnightly log records reflections on the reading and lectures, relating it to the 2 areas of focus. Students write an essay on one of their 2 chosen topics. Resit for the reflective log component is an essay on the second selected area of focus.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2024 16:19:43


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