Human Rights and Everyday Life in Latin America

10 ECTS Credits – Spring term

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


By drawing extensively on anthropological theoretical perspectives, this module focuses on key issues that define the everyday lives of Latin Americans and their attempts to exercise basic human rights. Its overall aim is to provide a framework for understanding contemporary social, political and cultural issues in Latin America from an ethnographic and historical vantage point. It will prioritise a ground-level focus in order to encourage analyses of how broad macro-processes play out in everyday life, as well as examine how ordinary people respond to and enact social change in diverse and unpredictable ways. We will also consider how human rights discourses and practices play out in various daily settings, and how they can impact and shape struggles for social justice and equality. This module’s employment of an ethnographic approach will therefore allow a shift from a focus on the formalistic and normative dimensions of human rights, towards their social life and histories. The proposed sessions and readings will cover various countries in Latin America and the Caribbean so as to offer a broad view of the region.

Aims and Objectives

  • To critically assess human rights theory and practice
  • To introduce students to Latin America and the human rights issues that define everyday life in this region
  • To evaluate the role played by human rights in Latin America 


Weekly Lectures

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


A 3,000 word essay = 80% of the total grade

A blog post = 10% of the total grade

Seminar participation = 10% of the total grade