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Civil and Political Rights

Key information

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Module description

Drawing on a combination of philosophical, sociological, political and legal scholarship, and taking a comparative and transnational approach, this module examines the role of law in the protection of individual liberty through the provision of civil and political rights.

The module critically examines the nature and historical emergence of key civil and political rights, such as the rights to life, to liberty and security, to freedom from torture, to family life, and to hold an opinion, and the requirement for states to legislate against incitement to discrimination and torture. It explores how ideas about civil and political rights have been taken up and transformed at different historical moments and in a variety of geographical contexts. These issues are considered within a broader political framework which assumes that democracy is a necessary context for the fulfilment of civil and political rights.

Case studies from recent international events will be used to illuminate some of the key issues addressed in the module. These might include, for example: the Julian Assange and Edward Snowden cases; Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers arriving on Christmas Island; President Trump’s ‘Muslim travel ban’; the UK government’s response to the riots and student protests in 2011; and the conflict between religious freedom laws in US states and non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation.

Assessment details

  • Formative 500 word essay plan (compulsory, but 0% weighting)
  • 2,500 word assignment (worth 100%)

Module description disclaimer

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Please note that modules with a practical component will be capped due to educational requirements, which may mean that we cannot guarantee a place to all students who elect to study this module.

Please note that the module descriptions above are related to the current academic year and are subject to change.