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Global Governance and Human Rights: History, Theory, and Practice


Admission requirements

Admission to the MA International Relations. Students who are interested in taking this course, but who are not admitted to the mentioned master programmes are requested to contact the co-ordinator of studies.


What are global human rights norms and values? What are the historical and normative underpinnings of human rights? How do such norms evolve the way we understand them in the context of global governance? Why do some political communities experience more severe and prevalent human rights violations while others do not? How can we best promote human rights norms at the global, regional, national, and sub-national levels?

This seminar course examines the evolution of global human rights norms and its contemporary implications to global governance. The substantive content of the course is divided into three main parts. The first part deals with the political history, normative concepts, and social scientific issues pertaining to universal human rights norms. The second part of the course addresses key important issues in the global politics of human rights and its relationship with global governance. Particularly, we examine topics that include the following: (1) international law and judicial politics; human rights and democratization; (3) transnational civil society; (4) global governance and the roles of the European Union and the United States; (5) justice and the global political economy; (6) and race, gender, and disability. The final part of the course tackles three recent cases of human rights crises: Cold War Latin America; Rwandan and Armenian genocide; and the post-9/11 human rights situation.

Course Objectives

Students who finish this course will (a) gain specialist knowledge of the explanatory and normative theories, concepts, and history of international human rights; (b) acquire the necessary analytical skills that will be valuable in assessing the causes and consequences of human rights abuses; (c) be familiar with the contemporary public policy problems relating to human rights norm compliance; and (d) develop their writing and oral communication skills that are crucial for professional careers.


Via the website.

Mode of instruction


Course Load

  • 24 Hours of classes

  • 120 Hours of reading and class preparation (10 hours per week over 12 weeks)

  • 36 Hours to prepare for the presentations

  • 40 Hours to complete two written assignments

  • 60 Hours to complete and end-term research essay.

Total 280 hours

Assessment Method

  • Final Paper 50%;

  • Class Participation and Seminar Presentation: 20%;

  • Final Paper Proposal and Preliminary Draft: 30%.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


The resit for the final examined element is only available to students whose mark of the final examined element is insufficient.

Exam Review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for this course.

Reading list

  • Brysk, Alison. 2009. Global Good Samaritans: Human Rights as Foreign Policy. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • Forsythe, David P. 2012. Human Rights in International Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Hafner-Burton, Emilie M. 2013. Making Human Rights a Reality. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

  • Hafner-Burton, Emilie M. 2014. “A Social Science of Human Rights.” Journal of Peace Research 51(2): 273–86.

  • Hopgood, Stephen. 2013. The Endtimes of Human Rights. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

  • Keck, Margaret E., and Kathryn Sikkink. 1998. Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

  • Regilme, Salvador Santino F Jr. 2014. “The Social Science of Human Rights: the Need for a ‘Second Image’ Reversed?.” Third World Quarterly 35(8): 1390–1405.

  • Risse, Thomas, Stephen C. Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink. 1999. (eds). The Power of Human Rights: International Norms and Domestic Change. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

  • Risse, Thomas, Stephen C. Ropp, and Kathryn Sikkink. 2013. (eds.) The Persistent Power of Human Rights: From Commitment to Compliance. New York City: Cambridge University Press.

  • Ruggie, John Gerard. 2014. “Global Governance and ‘New Governance Theory’: Lessons From Business and Human Rights.” Global Governance 20: 5–17.

  • Sikkink, Kathryn. 2011. The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

  • Simmons, Beth A. 2009. 104 Mobilizing for Human Rights : International Law in Domestic Politics. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.

More required and recommended readings will be announced on Blackboard before the start of the course, and subsequently during the course. Check Blackboard for timely information.


Via uSis.

Contact information

Dr. Salvador Santino F. Regilme Jr.