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ANTH323 – Culture and Human Rights

2017 – S1 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor
Chris Vasantkumar
Contact via e-mail
W6A, Room 600
Wednesday 1-3 and by appointment
Tutor
Ben Lee
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
(39cp at 100 level or above) or admission to GDipArts
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
This unit examines human rights across cultures, asking how contemporary human rights concepts came to be, and exploring the difficulties involved in translating “universal” rights into new and unfamiliar cultural settings. It seeks to answer the question of how human rights advocacy should best proceed in a world where the universal applicability of a human rights framework cannot be assumed. To this end we will focus on three modes in which conversations, practices, and institutions of human rights and culture have come into articulation. Following anthropologist Jane Cowans, these include "rights versus culture" (the problem of how to reconcile universalist and relativist tendencies in the understanding of human rights), "rights to culture" (in which particular forms of imagined community become the basis for the achieving of human rights demands) and "rights as culture" (in which rights themselves are treated as culturally specific phenomena). Questions to be considered include the following: how much should individual rights be affected by terrorism and fears for security in different places? Should developing economies prioritize economic over civil rights? Should minority rights or indigenous rights be defended if these rights come into conflict with those of other entities? Are global capitalism and human rights are ultimately compatible?

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Develop familiarity with the history and evolution of human rights in legal, philosophical, and institutional contexts.
  2. Understand the changing relationship between anthropology and human rights, especially with regard to the concepts of culture and cultural relativism.
  3. Develop the ability to assess received understandings of human rights discourses using anthropologically informed holistic and relativistic descriptions of cultural practices.
  4. Critically evaluate the validity of a number of prominent critiques of human rights using anthropologically informed approaches.
  5. Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.
  6. Apply a critical understanding of human rights and its critics to real world situations and phenomena
  7. Analyze how cultural difference affects the interpretation, institution, and enforcement of human rights in different societies.
  8. Improve writing skills, especially structuring of argument, organization, and use of supporting evidence and data.
  9. Produce in cooperation with other students an effective presentation about a conflict in human rights-related materials, improving presentation skills and teamwork.

General Assessment Information

SEE ILEARN FOR FULL DETAILS ON SPECIFIC ASSESSMENTS!

How to Submit Your Work All assessments must be submitted via turnitin no later than 11:59pm on the due date. 

Extensions and Late Submissions Late submissions on any assignment will incur a penalty, unless the unit convenor has granted an extension due to “unavoidable disruption” certified as such via the formal Disruption of Studies request process (see Undergraduate Student Handbook). Requests for extensions are more likely to be approved if they are submitted well in advance of the deadline.  The late penalty is a 5% deduction in your mark per 24-hour period. The unit convenor at his discretion may waive this deduction for assignments turned in within 1 hour of the deadline.

Word Limits You will be deducted 1 percentage point for each 25 words by which you exceed the word limit. Please take the word limit very seriously and try to make your argument concisely and clearly. It is unfair to fellow students if one person has much more space to argue their case while another student sticks firmly to the length guidelines. The word limit is designed to level the essay-writing field, so to speak. You must provide a word count beneath the title when you submit your work. If you fail to provide a word count, you will be deducted 1 percentage point and the assessor will estimate length and mark accordingly. The word limit excludes end-of-text references but it includes footnotes and in-text citations. 

Failure to reach the minimum word count for an assessment will result in a penalty determined by calculating the percentage of the required word total you were able to complete. For example, if you wrote an essay 734 words in length for an assessment with a minimum word count of 1000 words, your mark would be penalized by 26.6% because you only completed 73.4% of the assessment. Example: your work would have received a 77D had it been 1000 words long, you wrote 734 words, your final mark would be 77 * 0.734 = 56 P. 

Plagiarism The fundamental principle of the University’s Academic Honesty Policy is that all staff and students act with integrity in the creation, development, application and use of ideas and information. This means that:

  • All academic work claimed as original is the work of the author making the claim.
  • All academic collaborations are acknowledged.
  • Academic work is not falsified in any way
  • When the ideas of others are used, these ideas are acknowledged appropriately.

The University defines plagiarism in its rules: "Plagiarism involves using the work of another person and presenting it as one's own." Plagiarism is a serious breach of the University's rules and carries significant penalties. You must read the University's definition of plagiarism and its academic honesty policy. These can be found in the Handbook of Undergraduate studies or on the web here.The policies and procedures explain what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, the procedures that will be taken in cases of suspected plagiarism, and the penalties if you are found guilty.  In this class I use turnitin to detect plagiarism and I take it very, very seriously. Plagiarism may result in a mark of zero for that assignment and, depending on the severity of the plagiarism, may also result in failing the unit and/or referral to the University Discipline Committee.

No consideration for lost work or technology issues It is the student’s responsibility to keep a copy (electronic or otherwise) of all written work submitted for each unit. No consideration will be given to claims of ‘lost work’ or technology issues no matter what the circumstances. It is your responsibility to ensure that your computer is fully compatible with iLearn during exam periods. 

Returning assignments Student work will usually be marked and returned within two to three weeks of receipt. Students who hand their work in before the due date will not have it returned early. Do not ask when marking will be finished. If you turned in you assignment late, it will likely be marked later.

Disruptions to Study: Please view the Disruption to Studies Policy here. All Disruption to Studies notifications are to be made online via the University’s Ask MQ system.

Remember, the University has determined that some circumstances routinely encountered by students are not acceptable grounds for claiming Disruption of Studies. These grounds include, but are not limited, to:

  • Routine demands of employment
  • Routine family problems such as tension with or between parents, spouses, and other people closely involved with the student
  • Difficulties adjusting to university life, to the self-discipline needed to study effectively, and the demands of academic work
  • Stress or anxiety associated with examinations, required assignments or any aspect of academic work
  • Routine need for financial support
  • Routine demands of sport, clubs and social or extra-curricular activities

Conditions existing prior to commencing a unit of study are not grounds for Special Consideration. The student is responsible for managing their workload in light of any known or anticipated problems. The student is responsible for contacting Student Support Services if they have a chronic condition.

Remember that you can miss one tutorial and two lectures without having to complete the Disruption to Studies process. This allowance is to reduce the documentation burden for you and your convenor. 

Re-mark of Work During the Semester A re-mark will be considered only on the following grounds:

1. Administrative error 2. The feedback provided on the assessment does not justify the grade awarded

Student Procedure:

1.  The student must contact the original marker of the assessment (usually your tutor) to discuss the mark or resolve the administrative error. 2.  If the marking issue cannot be resolved by the original marker, the student will email the unit convenor.  This email must clearly detail the marking issue at hand.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Hurdle Due
Lecture Content Quizzes 5% Weekly
Tutorial Participation 20% Weekly
Group Presentation in Tutorial 15% See Schedule on iLearn
Short Essay 15% 26/03/2017
Media Watch Portfolio 15% 28/05/2017
Research Essay 30% 09/06/2017

Lecture Content Quizzes

Due: Weekly
Weighting: 5%

Brief iLearn-based quizzes on lecture content, to be completed within one week of the lecture's delivery. The results of each weekly quiz will be averaged to calculate your final mark on this assessment.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop familiarity with the history and evolution of human rights in legal, philosophical, and institutional contexts.
  • Understand the changing relationship between anthropology and human rights, especially with regard to the concepts of culture and cultural relativism.
  • Develop the ability to assess received understandings of human rights discourses using anthropologically informed holistic and relativistic descriptions of cultural practices.

Tutorial Participation

Due: Weekly
Weighting: 20%

Active attendance and engagement with lecture, tutorial materials, and discussions. See iLearn for further details.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop familiarity with the history and evolution of human rights in legal, philosophical, and institutional contexts.
  • Understand the changing relationship between anthropology and human rights, especially with regard to the concepts of culture and cultural relativism.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.
  • Apply a critical understanding of human rights and its critics to real world situations and phenomena
  • Analyze how cultural difference affects the interpretation, institution, and enforcement of human rights in different societies.

Group Presentation in Tutorial

Due: See Schedule on iLearn
Weighting: 15%

20-30 minute presentations in tutorial by groups of four students on assigned topics. See iLearn for dates and topics.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop the ability to assess received understandings of human rights discourses using anthropologically informed holistic and relativistic descriptions of cultural practices.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.
  • Apply a critical understanding of human rights and its critics to real world situations and phenomena
  • Analyze how cultural difference affects the interpretation, institution, and enforcement of human rights in different societies.
  • Produce in cooperation with other students an effective presentation about a conflict in human rights-related materials, improving presentation skills and teamwork.

Short Essay

Due: 26/03/2017
Weighting: 15%

A 1000-1250 essay on an assigned topic. 


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop the ability to assess received understandings of human rights discourses using anthropologically informed holistic and relativistic descriptions of cultural practices.
  • Critically evaluate the validity of a number of prominent critiques of human rights using anthropologically informed approaches.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.
  • Improve writing skills, especially structuring of argument, organization, and use of supporting evidence and data.

Media Watch Portfolio

Due: 28/05/2017
Weighting: 15%

Texts, images, clips, memes etc. from the media collected over the semester with 1000-1500 word commentary. To be discussed in tutorial on 25 May and submitted on 28 May. See iLearn for full info.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Develop the ability to assess received understandings of human rights discourses using anthropologically informed holistic and relativistic descriptions of cultural practices.
  • Apply a critical understanding of human rights and its critics to real world situations and phenomena
  • Analyze how cultural difference affects the interpretation, institution, and enforcement of human rights in different societies.
  • Improve writing skills, especially structuring of argument, organization, and use of supporting evidence and data.

Research Essay

Due: 09/06/2017
Weighting: 30%

A 3000-3500 word essay with significant independent research component on assigned or student-designed topic.  See iLearn for full details.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Critically evaluate the validity of a number of prominent critiques of human rights using anthropologically informed approaches.
  • Apply a critical understanding of human rights and its critics to real world situations and phenomena
  • Analyze how cultural difference affects the interpretation, institution, and enforcement of human rights in different societies.
  • Improve writing skills, especially structuring of argument, organization, and use of supporting evidence and data.

Delivery and Resources

REQUIRED READINGS

All required readings are available electronically on E-reserve.  See iLearn for a full list.

UNIT PLAN (See iLearn for detailed descriptions of each week's topic)

 

Week

Date

Lecture (Thurs)

Date

Tutes (Thurs/Fri)

1

2 Mar

Introduction to Culture and Human Rights: Key Terms, Themes and Problems

2/3 Mar

None—Tutorials begin Thursday, 9 March

2

9 Mar

The Making of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

9/10 Mar

Ranking Your Rights

3

16 Mar

 Anthropology and Human Rights: What is Culture Anyway?

16/17 Mar

Debate: A Global Ban on FGM? 

4

23 Mar

The Limits of the "Human:" Concepts and Case Studies

23/24 Mar

Who's in, who's out? A Bill of Rights for All Australians

 

26 Mar

SHORT ESSAY DUE 23:59 via Turnitin

 

 

5

30 Mar

"Rights" and Their Critics: The View from "Asia"

30/31 Mar

Debate: "Asian Values"

6

6 Apr

Universal Rights, Local Practices

6/7 Apr

Translating Australian Culture

7

13 Apr

ANZAC Day and the History of Genocide

13/14 Apr

 Group Research Project: ANZAC Day Over the Years

Mid-semester Recess

8

4 May

Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Foreign Fighters: Human Rights and Security since 9/11

4/5 May

Debate: Rights or Security?

9

11 May

Blood, Sweat and Tears: Are Human Rights and Global Capitalism Compatible?

11/12 May

Debate: More Sweatshops? Or fewer?

10

18 May

Indigeneity, Nature and the Right to Difference

18/19 May

Debate: Indigenous Whaling

11

25 May

Collective Rights after Mabo

(Guest Lecture by Prof. Greg Downey)

25/26 May

Show and Tell: Student Portfolios

 

28 May

MEDIA WATCH PORTFOLIO DUE

23:59 via Turnitin

 

 

12

1 Jun

Conclusion: After Human Rights?

1/2 Jun

Commend, Amend, or Replace?

13

8 Jun

 

No Class

 

8/9 Jun

No Tutorials

 

9 Jun

RESEARCH ESSAY DUE

23:59 via Turnitin

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy (in effect until Dec 4th, 2017): http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html

Special Consideration Policy (in effect from Dec 4th, 2017): https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policies/special-consideration

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Understand the changing relationship between anthropology and human rights, especially with regard to the concepts of culture and cultural relativism.
  • Develop the ability to assess received understandings of human rights discourses using anthropologically informed holistic and relativistic descriptions of cultural practices.
  • Critically evaluate the validity of a number of prominent critiques of human rights using anthropologically informed approaches.
  • Analyze how cultural difference affects the interpretation, institution, and enforcement of human rights in different societies.

Assessment tasks

  • Lecture Content Quizzes
  • Tutorial Participation
  • Group Presentation in Tutorial
  • Short Essay
  • Media Watch Portfolio
  • Research Essay

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Apply a critical understanding of human rights and its critics to real world situations and phenomena
  • Improve writing skills, especially structuring of argument, organization, and use of supporting evidence and data.
  • Produce in cooperation with other students an effective presentation about a conflict in human rights-related materials, improving presentation skills and teamwork.

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • Group Presentation in Tutorial
  • Short Essay
  • Media Watch Portfolio
  • Research Essay

Capable of Professional and Personal Judgement and Initiative

We want our graduates to have emotional intelligence and sound interpersonal skills and to demonstrate discernment and common sense in their professional and personal judgement. They will exercise initiative as needed. They will be capable of risk assessment, and be able to handle ambiguity and complexity, enabling them to be adaptable in diverse and changing environments.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Produce in cooperation with other students an effective presentation about a conflict in human rights-related materials, improving presentation skills and teamwork.

Assessment task

  • Group Presentation in Tutorial

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Develop familiarity with the history and evolution of human rights in legal, philosophical, and institutional contexts.
  • Understand the changing relationship between anthropology and human rights, especially with regard to the concepts of culture and cultural relativism.
  • Develop the ability to assess received understandings of human rights discourses using anthropologically informed holistic and relativistic descriptions of cultural practices.
  • Critically evaluate the validity of a number of prominent critiques of human rights using anthropologically informed approaches.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.
  • Apply a critical understanding of human rights and its critics to real world situations and phenomena
  • Analyze how cultural difference affects the interpretation, institution, and enforcement of human rights in different societies.

Assessment tasks

  • Lecture Content Quizzes
  • Tutorial Participation
  • Group Presentation in Tutorial
  • Short Essay
  • Media Watch Portfolio
  • Research Essay

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Critically evaluate the validity of a number of prominent critiques of human rights using anthropologically informed approaches.
  • Improve writing skills, especially structuring of argument, organization, and use of supporting evidence and data.

Assessment tasks

  • Short Essay
  • Media Watch Portfolio
  • Research Essay

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Improve writing skills, especially structuring of argument, organization, and use of supporting evidence and data.
  • Produce in cooperation with other students an effective presentation about a conflict in human rights-related materials, improving presentation skills and teamwork.

Assessment tasks

  • Group Presentation in Tutorial
  • Short Essay
  • Media Watch Portfolio
  • Research Essay

Engaged and Ethical Local and Global citizens

As local citizens our graduates will be aware of indigenous perspectives and of the nation's historical context. They will be engaged with the challenges of contemporary society and with knowledge and ideas. We want our graduates to have respect for diversity, to be open-minded, sensitive to others and inclusive, and to be open to other cultures and perspectives: they should have a level of cultural literacy. Our graduates should be aware of disadvantage and social justice, and be willing to participate to help create a wiser and better society.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Develop familiarity with the history and evolution of human rights in legal, philosophical, and institutional contexts.
  • Develop the ability to assess received understandings of human rights discourses using anthropologically informed holistic and relativistic descriptions of cultural practices.
  • Question commonly held and taken for granted assumptions about what is ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ human experience.
  • Analyze how cultural difference affects the interpretation, institution, and enforcement of human rights in different societies.

Assessment tasks

  • Lecture Content Quizzes
  • Tutorial Participation
  • Group Presentation in Tutorial
  • Short Essay
  • Media Watch Portfolio
  • Research Essay

Socially and Environmentally Active and Responsible

We want our graduates to be aware of and have respect for self and others; to be able to work with others as a leader and a team player; to have a sense of connectedness with others and country; and to have a sense of mutual obligation. Our graduates should be informed and active participants in moving society towards sustainability.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Produce in cooperation with other students an effective presentation about a conflict in human rights-related materials, improving presentation skills and teamwork.

Assessment task

  • Group Presentation in Tutorial

Commitment to Continuous Learning

Our graduates will have enquiring minds and a literate curiosity which will lead them to pursue knowledge for its own sake. They will continue to pursue learning in their careers and as they participate in the world. They will be capable of reflecting on their experiences and relationships with others and the environment, learning from them, and growing - personally, professionally and socially.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcome

  • Apply a critical understanding of human rights and its critics to real world situations and phenomena

Assessment tasks

  • Tutorial Participation
  • Group Presentation in Tutorial
  • Media Watch Portfolio
  • Research Essay