History of human rights

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide the students with the basic critical tools enabling them to know the historical development and the emergence of Human Rights, both contextualizing the roots of fundamental freedoms within their evolutionary process, and finding continuities and discontinuities between the past and the present.
The learning objectives of the course, therefore, are to illustrate the dynamics leading to the existing 'set' of Human Rights and the means of universal protection of a whole package of rights belonging to all human being simply by virtue of their being human, as well as their declination in the fields of politics, economy, and culture, and also their legacy to contemporary law and institutions. To this end, focus will be on the struggle for the recognition of fundamental rights, especially through the technical examination of legal argumentation and reasoning, as well as the analysis of case studies, political documents, decisions of courts, national and international laws, declarations and treaties related to the clearance (and the denial) of human rights.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students will have to demonstrate
- knowledge and understanding: to know and to understand the basic notions underlying the development of Human Rights, and to be able to reflect upon the distinctive features of Western legal culture;
- applying knowledge and understanding: the ability to understand the various techniques of legal reasoning, as well as the ability to collect, analyze and select data based on context;
- making judgements: critical awareness, management skills, flexibility, and a capacity for research into the many elements that make up the historical side of law as it relates to the foundations of Western legal knowledge, through optional written exercises;
- communication skills: to write and to speak about the concepts learned during the course, utilizing coherent argumentation, methodical precision and correct language;
- learning skills: to understand the relationship between institutions, society and individuals, and also to demonstrate a strong capacity for analysis and reflection in terms of legal issues, both past and present.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
The long struggle for human rights and the ongoing violations of fundamental freedoms, as well as the gap between 'rights in principle' and 'rights in practice', force to question the meaning and the emergence of the fundamental values of the human being as embedded in Western thought from 17th to 20th Centuries, so as to provide the tools for a critical reading of the juridical-political-social debate on human rights and civil liberties.
The twisted interweaving between human legal status, governance and human rights, national and international compliance and protection of fundamental freedoms means answering the following three inter-related questions: what are human rights? When and how human rights are born? Since when and by which kind of legal guarantees and mechanism human rights have been protected?
In order to respond to these questions, the course articulates itself in three learning units.
Firstly, it will trace the historical roots and the development of human liberties from the Ancient world to the Contemporary times, passing through Middle Ages and Modern Era, paying particular attention to continuities and discontinuities between human rights and the notion of 'natural law'.
It will also focus on the 'birth' of human rights, their proclamation and their progressive implementation to include new categories of rightholders (slaves, colonized people, prisoners of war, racial and religious minorities, immigrants).
It will finally deal with the greatest violations of human rights throughout the late 19th and the post-Worl II (specifically, concentration and labour camps), which paved the way to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ushering the awareness that a global system of protection should be established.
Prerequisites for admission
There are no specific requirements different from those requested for the degree admission.
Teaching methods
Attendance to classes is strongly recommended although not compulsory. The teaching is delivered through frontal lectures aimed primarily at the acquisition of knowledge, competence and specific language of the subject. Discussion with the teacher in the classroom is integrant part of the didactic method and aims at promoting a critical attitude and the capacity to apply the acquired competence and knowledge. Student, therefore, will be encouraged to critically analyse, discuss, and exchange views on the documents and the legal sources introduced by the professor.
Teaching Resources
Attending students:
Bibliography, learning materials, and other sources will be promplty indicated by the professor during the lessons.
In order to pass the examination a thorough knowledge of the topics taught in lectures is required, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the learning materials (e.g., slides regarding topical subjects, documents and texts of the legal sources), available to students on the Ariel website.

Non-attending students:
In order to pass the examination a thorough knowledge of the following textbook is required:
1) C. Storti, Economia e consuetudine vs libertà. Questioni di diritto sulla tutela degli schiavi tra XIX e XX secolo, Giappichelli 2019, in press,
and one to be chosen between:
2a) E. Augusti, A.M. Morone, M. Pifferi (edd.), Il controllo dello straniero. I «campi» dall'Ottocento a oggi, Viella 2017, limited to pp. 7-104 and pp. 175-212,
2b) L. Lacché (ed.), "Ius gentium ius communicationis ius belli". Alberico Gentili e gli orizzonti della modernità, Giuffrè 2009, limited to pp. 1-27, pp. 51-72, and pp. 101-196.

International and Erasmus students are invited to promptly get in touch with the professor in order to arrange a reading plan (available in English) for exam preparation.
Assessment methods and Criteria
- Method: oral examination.
- Type of examination: oral interrogation.
- Evaluation criteria: capacity to demonstrate and elaborate knowledge; capacity for critical reflection on the completed work; quality of exposition, competence in the use of specialised lexicon, efficacy, clarity.
- Type of evaluation method: mark in 30s.
The format of the exam for students with disabilities should be arranged in advance with the professor, as well as the relevant office.
IUS/19 - HISTORY OF MEDIEVAL AND MODERN LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
Professor: Rossi Filippo
Educational website(s)