Culture and Identity Rights

Module code: 923M3
Level 7 (Masters)
30 credits in spring semester
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Coursework, Essay

The aim of this module is to explore the development of rights to culture, religion and language from an international and comparative perspective. The idea is to link rights based discussions to contemporary debates involving cultural issues and conflicts (for example on Shari'a law, on religious dress and symbols and on language rights in post-conflict reconciliation). In particular, the module seeks to explore the accommodation of such rights and the balancing of competing interests.

The module will be divided into three parts. The first part of the module will introduce relevant legal frameworks and different theoretical perspectives required for a study of legal approaches to culture, religion and language. Specifically, this part will consider what we mean conceptually by culture, religion and language and consider how competing values and interests are reconciled within the international human rights framework. 

The second part will consider in more depth the development of (both individual and collective) rights to culture, religion and language at the international level and consider the wider implications of the recognition of such rights with a particular focus on specific country situations. This part of the module will consider the extent to which such rights are increasingly being marginalised. It will also consider the impact of contemporary challenges, such as the current economic climate on the accommodation of such rights as well as new opportunities in a post-multicultural era. 

The final part of the module will involve oral presentation of research plans on a case-study of your choice.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge and a sophisticated understanding of the international legal framework in relation to rights to culture, language, religion and identity.
  • Demonstrate critical awareness of contemporary challenges in accommodating different rights and interests in areas of culture, religion, language and identity.
  • Apply this knowledge, understanding and awareness (LO1 and LO2) to their chosen case-study, demonstrating advanced independent research skills as well as the ability to use their initiative in deciding on an appropriate topic.
  • Communicate effectively ideas relating to their chosen case-study through submission of a research plan and completion of the essay.