Course Title: Introduction to Applied Human Rights

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Introduction to Applied Human Rights

Credit Points: 12


Terms

Course Code

Campus

Career

School

Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)

HUSO2286

City Campus

Postgraduate

360H Education

Face-to-Face

Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2010,
Summer2011,
Sem 1 2011,
Summer2012

HUSO2286

City Campus

Postgraduate

360H Education

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 1 2009

HUSO2286

City Campus

Postgraduate

360H Education

Internet

Sem 2 2009

HUSO2286

City Campus

Postgraduate

365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014

HUSO2311

City Campus

Undergraduate

360H Education

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2010,
Summer2011,
Sem 1 2011

HUSO2311

City Campus

Undergraduate

365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face

Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 2 2017

Course Coordinator: Professor Rob Watts

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 8247

Course Coordinator Email: rob.watts@rmit.edu.au

Course Coordinator Location: 37.2.11

Course Coordinator Availability: by appointment


Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

The course requires the abilities to:

• Undertake independent research using a range of texts and electronic resources
• Examine and evaluate opposing arguments
• Apply theoretical concepts to present day workplace situations in anticipation that resolution may be achieved.
 


Course Description

Welcome to Applied Human Rights. This course is designed to do just a few things. It is designed to introduce you to some important questions about how we might think about and do to promote and protect human rights in Australia.

It is designed to work as an inquiry-based course. This course is run on the basis that whether as a teacher or as a student we are all collaborating in an inquiry based on thinking and research. Our inquiry is focused on human rights especially in Australia and on trying to work out what is actually happening and why it is happening and that doing both of these things matter.  (This involves among other things the premise that truth is a basic human good). This means that you are not a passive vessel to be filled up with ‘knowledge’. This means e.g., that there aren’t any particular facts or information you need to memorise or get. It also means that you are not required to believe in human rights. Finally, it means precisely because we don't -and cannot- live in a ‘post-truth world’ that I will want you to use well understood tests and techniques of good reasoning, clear thinking and evidence to inform your inquiry. (You might want to think about why we cannot conceivably live in a world where truth doesn't matter).

The course will outline some of the key aspects of the history and development of an international discourse of human rights especially after 1945.  The course will then introduce you  to the evolution of an ‘applied’ human rights perspective which is multi-disciplinary in character, relies on education, dialogue and policy advocacy,  as much as it does on legal processes.  We will explore together what will be needed if we are to develop and sustain a culture of human rights in public and private organisations and in the wider community. 

To do this, you will engage in an examination of the development of the first major ‘bill of rights’ in Australia namely the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006.  You will be asked to develop a well-informed view of how this Charter works, and with what ‘practical’ effect. You will also be asked to think about the idea that any program of human rights needs to be clear about the ethical ‘goods’ it will promote or at least the ‘bads’ its will prevent, and how this process might contribute to promoting a culture of human rights’.  You will be asked to think about the culture of your current workplace or some relevant public spaces, and the level of regard in  those spaces  for practices that are ‘practical’ because of those  ethical ideas which human rights  support.

Along the way this course will play a small role in assisting you to continue to develop some practical skills relevant to your professional practice. It is therefore to be understood as a process of professional development rather than just an abstracted academic process. 


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completing this course successfully you will be able to:

1. Identify and describe the development of a human rights discourse;
2. Identify and evaluate some of the key problems which characterises human rights discourse;
3. Identify and describe the objectives of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006 and evaluate its success to date in achieving those objectives;
4. Identify and describe the link between ethical goods and human rights;
5. Identify and describe what a culture of human rights look like and use this to evaluate the regard for human rights in a work place.


What can you expect to learn by studying this course?

This course uses a mix of lectures and workshops. The lectures will outline some of the key ideas, issues and approaches to thinking about applied human rights.  In the workshops you will engage in a variety of styles of didactic and  problem-based learning activities. The lectures and workshops will focus on a number of basic questions:

  • What are human rights and where has this idea come from?
  • How should we think about human rights?
  • What was the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006  set up to do, and how well is it working?
  • What is the link between ethical goods and human rights?
  • What does a culture of human rights look like?

Like taking out a gym membership, your successful engagement with this course has nothing much to do with paying your membership fees or even  enrolling in the course. This is a process of professional development centring on an enquiry into the nature of human rights and the evolution of a culture of practice  which takes human rights seriously.  Therefore it depends very much on how much effort you put into reading and thinking about the texts and the activities, as well as how active you are in the workshops, and with how well you engage with the  learning and assessment activities.

This issue of engagement in part involves you stepping up and answering the question ‘what does it mean be a ‘good student’?  This question runs in parallel with questions like what does it mean to be a ‘good teacher’, a  ‘good legal worker’, ‘good planner’,  ‘good youth worker’ and so on. 


On completing this course successfully you will be able to: 

1. Identify and describe the development of a human rights discourse  and practice in Australia;

  1. Identify and evaluate some of the key problems which characterises human rights discourse and practice;
  2. Identify and describe the objectives of the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006 and evaluate its success to date in achieving those objectives;
  3. Identify and describe the link between ethical goods and human rights;

5. Identify and describe what a culture of human rights look like and use this to evaluate the regard for human rights in a work place.


Overview of Learning Activities

You will achieve these abilities through:
• Guided discussion of debates and approaches to the application of human rights
• Case study analysis of the ability of certain groups of people in the community to access their rights in daily life, in particular young people, Indigenous people and women
• Case study analysis of the implementation and maintenance of human rights in fields such as human services, policing, social planning and environmental sustainability.
• Analysis of your own and other workplaces against a human rights framework
The course will be delivered in face to face workshops to debate and consider ideas and options. A major part of the assessment will be the analysis of the ability of a particular group of people to access their rights and the application of a human rights framework to an issue or workplace.
The course will use case-study approach where possible. An important part of the initial discussion with you will be determining your individual learning goals
 


Overview of Learning Resources

 A list of learning resources is available in Part B of the Course Guide and myRMIT. 


Overview of Assessment

Assessment will be two written exercises. Further details are available in Part B of the Course Guide.