PO3RFI-Responsibility for Injustice

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Rob Jubb

Email: r.s.d.jubb@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Advanced course in political and moral theory, focusing on questions of responsibility for and appropriate responses to injustice. 


The module aims to provide students with the tools and material to think critically about their responsibilities, as citizens of an unjust country in an unjust world, to resist, redress, and end injustice, as well as the victims of those injustices’ entitlements to struggle against them. In doing so, it should, through their application to the material the module covers, familiarise students with a range of philosophical techniques that can be used to deal with a range of normative political questions.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module, a student should be able to:

  1. describe the difficulties different moral and political theories encounter in trying to assign responsibility for injustice;

  2. critically assess the success of different moral and political theories in meeting those challenges;

  3. discuss the moral and political problems raised by struggling to end or mitigate injustice, and critically assess how successfully different political theories deal with those difficulties;

  4. demonstrate awareness of how interpret and critically assess claims and theories in political philosophy and theory more generally.

Additional outcomes:

The module aims to develop the capacity for independent study, both individually and as part of a team; the ability to think critically about political problems and theories and to be sensitive to the complexities and ambiguities of difficult texts; the skill of presenting the findings of such study and critical thought in group and individual presentations; and to contribute to oral discussions. 

Outline content:

The course is split into three parts. The first deals with problems associated with working out who has wronged whom in situations where it may be difficult to avoid harming someone. The second moves on to assesses attempts to assign responsibility for wrongs on the basis of criteria like benefit, contribution and participation, while the third discusses issues about the appropriateness of various different methods of opposing injustice, like for example boycotts, civil disobedience and revolutionary violence. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Ten hour long lectures introducing and framing a topic; ten hour and a half long seminars, each structured around a pair of questions, on which students will present. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 7 3
Seminars 10.5 4.5
Guided independent study 122.5 52.5
Total hours by term 140.00 60.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

No examination. 

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

This module is assessed by means of coursework only.

You must write two 3,500 word essays, each of which will be worth 50% of the final mark.

Visiting students will follow the same assessments for full credits. Visiting students who are only studying for half credits in Autumn and/or Spring terms will submit one assignment in total.


Formative assessment methods:

Presentations in seminars. 

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Assessment requirements for a pass:

    40% overall. 

    Reassessment arrangements:

    If a student fails the year and is permitted to resit this module coursework which already bears a confirmed mark of 40% or more will be carried forward.

    Students can resubmit coursework by 1st August which must be emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, and submitted on Blackboard.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    There is no textbook for this course. The three texts we will use the most are Christopher Kutz, Complicity (Cambridge, 2008), £44.99; David Miller, National Responsibility and Global Justice (OUP, 2012), £21.99 and Iris Marion Young, Responsibility for Justice (OUP, 2013), £12.99.

    Last updated: 20 April 2018


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