PP1GJ-Global Justice

Module Provider: Philosophy
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Shalini Sinha

Email: shalini.sinha@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This course introduces students to contemporary issues in global justice using cross-cultural, feminist and interdisciplinary perspectives. It investigates justice in the context of gender and sexuality, colonialism and race, capital and globalization, and human-nature relationships. It does so by using a set of philosophical concepts that are indelibly linked to ideas of justice: equality and sovereignty, freedom and democracy, power and violence.

Some of the questions we will examine in this module are: Is justice a struggle for ‘recognition’? Are the universalist principles of liberal justice, equality and so on, necessarily exclusionary?  What are the implications of cross-cultural and feminist conceptions of justice and freedom for our attitudes towards gender and sexuality, and to land and nature? What is wrong with colonialism, if anything? Can justice and freedom be achieved through revolutionary violence? What are the sources of global poverty? Must democracy incorporate economic democracy? Does living in harmony with nature require the abolition of private property and capital?

We will examine these questions through philosophical conversations between Feminist, Analytical and Continental philosophy, and Indian, Buddhist, Islamic, Chinese and Indigenous thought. Philosophers we will discuss include, Simone Weil, Iris Marion Young and Hannah Arendt; Gandhi, Confucius and Fanon; Buddhist, Islamic and Indigenous philosophers; Hobbes, Locke, Rawls and Pogge; Foucault, Agamben and the Frankfurt School. 


The course encourages students to examine core political, social and economic concepts and beliefs in dialogue with cross-cultural and feminist philosophies. Students will gain an understanding of current debates in global justice using multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives, cultivate skills in oral and written argument and develop a sense of the applicability of diverse philosophical frameworks to problems and issues in a multicultural society and global political economy. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

Students will gain awareness of the core concepts and issues in global justice and ways of approaching these through cross-cultural philosophical dialogue. They will learn skills of argument and presentation, and understand what counts as ‘Philosophy’, and the diverse methodologies that underpin it in a cross-cultural approach. Students will come to acquire skills of research and enquiry by designing their own presentations, undertake research to produce coursework essays, and learn how to critically appraise what they discover. Students will also develop personal effectiveness and self-awareness: they will learn how to communicate effectively with a range of audiences (one-to-one, seminars and lectures) using a range of means (speaking, summary-writing, essay-writing, presenting, designing slides). They will learn to reflect on their progress, their strengths and weaknesses, and their developing sense of the goals they wish to achieve. 

Additional outcomes:

This module gives students an opportunity to enhance their multicultural awareness and intercultural competencies by considering global perspectives in the study of Philosophy: from what it means to be human to diverse conceptions of community and nature in different cultures and philosophies. Students will learn to approach social and civic responsibility through an appreciation of the values of inclusiveness and diversity. They will learn about different perspectives on gender, sexuality and race and appreciate how cultural differences can impact on society. Students will learn how concepts from very different cultures and contexts can be relevant in approaching contemporary problems by developing the ability to apply concepts, theories, and practices from different philosophical traditions to contemporary problems, and use these to reflect critically on current thinking and practice on these issues. 

Outline content:

Topics covered in this module will include cross-cultural approaches to justice that problematize our conceptions of equality, sovereignty and democracy, and explore the role of violence and power in a variety of social, political and economic contexts: gender, sexuality and desire; colonialism and race; struggles for collective freedom and sovereignty; capitalist rationalities and globalization; property, commodity and human relationships with land and nature.

Global context:

This module will situate students’ understanding of ‘Philosophy’ as a practice in a global context and develop an understanding of the diverse ways there are of doing philosophy in the global community. It will greatly enhance the resources students have for understanding and developing their own thought and practice in a global context, and their intercultural competencies, by developing a sound understanding of diverse philosophical perspectives on the fundamental questions of human social and political life. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught by lectures and seminars. Students are expected to attend 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars during the term in which it is provided. All students are required to write two module essays from a list of questions supplied by the module convenor and to give one seminar presentation. Students are encouraged to be active in all classes, asking questions and trying to answer the questions posed by others. A reading list and sample questions will be given out at the start of the course. There will be an in-class test at the end of the course. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study: 170
Total hours by term 200 0 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 20
Class test administered by School 10

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Essay 1: 30%

Essay 2: 40%

Seminar presentation: 20% 

Class test: 10%, administered in the last lecture

Formative assessment methods:

Online activities (e.g. quizzes)

Feedback on essay plans.

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:

    A mark of 40% overall. 

    Reassessment arrangements:

    Written assignment

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 8 April 2019


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