Current Issues in Human Rights and Democracy

General information

The course is a compulsory component of the M.A. Program in Human Rights and Democracy.


Course description

The course consists of one or two blocks where students will deepen their grasp of different theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches through intensive studies of one or two current issues or contexts of relevance to human rights and democracy. The course is taught through seminars, intensive reading and writing assignments where students bring together different theoretical tools in analyzing relevant primary sources for the given themes. The themes at hand are usually tied to one or two current research projects at the School of Human Rights and Democracy.


Learning Outcomes 

On completion of the course, the student shall be able to


Knowledge and understanding

  • skillfully summarize the state of research on current issues of relevance to human rights and democracy,
  • integrate and contrast different academic perspectives on current issues of relevance to human rights and democracy, 
  • display an in-depth grasp of the possibilities and limitations of interdisciplinary research within the field of study,
  • provide an overview of the most important academic forums, including journals and book series, where the scholarly conversation on the current issues takes place


Competence and skills

  • plan, execute, as well as orally present and defend an academic essay on current issues of relevance to human rights and democracy, showing an awareness of the different conventions of style and reasoning within different academic disciplines, 
  • account and argue for one’s assessment of complex phenomena—orally as well as in writing; 


Judgement and approach

  • reflect critically and independently on central theories and concepts within the field of inquiry; 
  • analyze and assess information using scientific criteria. 


Reservation för revidering av litteraturen.

Part I: To Be/come Human: Horizons of Technology and Surveillance

DeNardis, Laura, 2020. The Internet in Everything: Freedom and Security in a World with No Off Switch. New York: Yale University Press (288 s).

Foucault, Michel, 2020. Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. London: Penguin (352 p) (or another edition).

Jay, Martin, 1994. Downcast Eyes. The Denigration of Vision in Twentieth-Century French Thought. University of California Press. S. 21-82, 263-328, 381-492, 543-586 (280 p). (also as e-book)

Lyon, David, 2021. Pandemic Surveillance. Polity Press (176 p).

Stoddart, Eric & Wigorts Yngvesson, Susanne, 2018. Surveillance & Religion. In: Surveillance & Society, Vol 16 No 4, (read Introduction plus two articles by choice) (50 p). https://ojs.library.queensu.ca/index.php/surveillance-and-society/issue/view/Religion 

Stoddart, Eric, 2021. The Common Gaze: Surveillance and the Common Good. SCM Press (274 p).

Vallor, Shannon, 2018. Technology and the Virtues. A Philosophical Guide to a Future Worth Wanting. Oxford. Oxford University Press (309 p).

A free selection of scientific articles (100 p).

Choose one of the following:

Fuchs, Christian, 2021. Communicating COVID-19. Everyday Life, Digital Capitalism, and Conspiracy Theories in Pandemic Times. SocietyNow Series. Bingley: Emerald (336 p)

Furedi, Frank, 2019. How Fear Works. Culture of Fear in the 21st Century. London: Blomsbury (306 p)

Zuboff, Shoshana, 2019. The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power. Profile Books (a selection of 300 p).

Part II: Freedom of Religion or Belief in a Global World

Bielefeldt, Heiner, Ghanea, Nazila & Wiener, Michael, 2016. Freedom of Religion or Belief. An International Law Commentary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. P 41-52, 363-592 (240 p). Available as e-book (OSAIL).

Bielefeldt, Heiner & Wiener, Michael, 2019. Religious Freedom Under Scrutiny. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (280 p)

Blackford, Russell, 2011. Freedom of Religion and the Secular State. Malden, MA: John Wiley & Sons (224 p). Available as e-book (EbscoHost).

European Court of Human Rights, 2021. Guide on Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. (99 p). https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Guide_Art_9_ENG.pdf

Foster, Dion A., Gerle, Elisabeth & Gunner Göran (eds.), 2019. Freedom of Religion at Stake. Competing Claims among Faith Traditions, States, and Persons. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications. P. 1-280 (280 p)

Sachedina, Abdulaziz, 2009. Islam and the Challenge of Human Rights. New York: Oxford University Press. (248 p) Available as e-book (EbscoHost).

Additional articles (100 p)

Choose material on a specific country (a selection of 200 p)

Kurslitteraturen reviderades senast 27 september 2021.

Schemat finns tillgängligt senast en månad innan kursen startar. Vi rekommenderar inte att du skriver ut schemat eftersom vissa ändringar kan ske.

Öppna schemat


Göran Gunner

Docent, högskolelektor, pastor



A = Framstående, B = Mycket bra, C = Bra, D = Tillfredsställande, E = Tillräcklig, Fx = Otillräcklig, komplettering möjlig, F = Otillräcklig


  • PM

The applicant must have a Bachelor’s degree in human rights studies or another related
field in social or political science, law or the humanities. Students with undergraduate
degrees in the natural sciences, engineering or medicine may also be admitted subject to
their ability to demonstrate a proficiency in human rights, for instance through professional
or voluntary work or activity.

In addition, advanced level studies in human rights studies of 30 credits or the equivalent.

If English is not the applicant’s native language, his or her language proficiency is to be
demonstrated by e.g. IELTS test, TOEFL test, Cambridge/Oxford test, a Bachelor’s degree
from a study programme taught entirely in English, or a passing grade in English 6/English B from
Swedish upper secondary school.

  • För fullgjord kurs krävs minst 80% närvaro vid föreläsningar och 100% närvaro vid seminarier/gruppövningar och andra tillfällen för redovisning. Frånvaro därutöver kan kompenseras genom kompletteringsuppgift (-er) om kursansvarig lärare bedömer det möjligt. Vid frånvaro om 50 % eller mer betraktas kursen som avbruten, även om examinationsuppgifter har genomförts.
  • Om student har ett beslut från EHS om särskilt pedagogiskt stöd på grund av funktionsnedsättning, skall examinator vid behov anpassa examinationen och genomföra examinationen på ett alternativt sätt.
  • Student har möjlighet att tentera kurs enligt ursprunglig kursplan inom två år efter kurstillfället. Om särskilda skäl föreligger kan sådan omtentamen ske även senare. Normalt ges inte undervisning enligt äldre kursplan. Möjligheten till dispens ska avgöras av rektor eller biträdande rektor.

Fastställd av Kollegiet i Mänskliga rättigheter vid Enskilda Högskolan Stockholm den 3 februari 2021.