Decolonisation and Human Rights in Latin America

10 ECTS Credits – Spring term

Compulsory for students undertaking the Latin America pathway; optional for other students.


This module explores Latin America’s human rights challenges in the context of the region’s histories of colonization and liberation. It approaches ten key themes through a post-colonial lens, focusing on lived experiences and local case studies. The module interrogates the legacies of colonial domination, but also the ways in which communities are challenging power structures through theory, institutional change and activism. The module also encourages students to critically examine the place of the academy in relation to human rights, including the place of written text and the positionality of academics and policy makers. The module works both as a complementary course to the other two courses on the Latin America Pathway, but also as a standalone course for non-pathway students interested in the module’s themes, in decolonization in general or in the region. All students are welcome to audit all or any one of the lectures. 

Aims and Objectives

The objectives of the module are:

  1. To critically explore human rights theory and practice
  2. To introduce a post-colonial and de-colonial lens and to interrogate the relationship between human rights and colonialism
  3. To introduce students to a range of Latin American country histories and the human rights challenges that define everyday life in this region
  4. To explore the different forms through which human rights can be understood, including anthropological literature, testimonies, art works and policy papers


Weekly Lectures

Students are also welcome to discuss their projects and ideas for their assessments in weekly office hours.


  • 3,000 word essay = 70% of the total grade
  • A blog post = 20% of the total grade
  • Lecture participation = 10% of the total grade