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Curtin University

Human Rights Theory and Philosophy (T2 2019)

Curtin University via edX

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The course commences through exploring the development of the conventional understanding of universal human rights and then moves to critiquing this concept from cultural relativist, postmodern, postcolonial and feminist perspectives. It also examines understandings of human rights from a range of cultural and religious perspectives as well as other contemporary rights issues.

Developing an awareness of contemporary issues in human rights is important in professions such as education, health, law, social work and development work, both in the public and private sector. You can also benefit from human rights knowledge in a voluntary capacity, advocating social justice, peace or building a sustainable future.

This course is part of the Human Rights MicroMasters program. If you take the verified certificate pathway for the three human rights courses you will qualify for the MicroMasters credential.

The MicroMasters credential is an achievement in itself, but if you want to study further, you can use it towards studying a Master of Human Rights at Curtin.


Week 1: What do we mean by human rights?
Week 2: Modern perspectives on human rights
Week 3: Constructing human rights: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Week 4: Human rights and the cultural relativist and postmodern critiques
Week 5: Human rights and the postcolonial and decolonial critiques
Week 6: Human rights beyond western perspectives
Week 7: Indigenous rights
Week 8: Human rights and the feminist critiques
Week 9: Sexual Orientation, gender identity and human rights
Week 10: Disability and human rights
Week 11: Human rights and seeking asylum
Week 12: Human rights, the environment and the Anthropocene

Taught by

Dr. Caroline Fleay


4.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

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  • This mooc follows a very academic/grad school model: lecture plus readings, with two peer-assessed essays (verified students get instructor grading) and discussion posts as graded material. The course focuses on inclusion of underrepresented groups (post-colonial and non-Western, aboriginal, and disabled populations, for instance) rather than dissecting the existing UDHR and other documents. Surprisingly muted, given the subject matter and current world events.
    FMI see my blog post at

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