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Aims and Assessment


Students will be able to...

  • ...demonstrate an understanding of the developments in research on the Global History of Human Rights.
  • ...demonstrate a critical and systematic knowledge of the development of human rights in Latin America.
  • ...discuss issues of the development of human rights in Latin America in an informed manner.
  • ...analyse and assess primary sources.
  • ...devise and sustain arguments about human rights in Latin America.
  • ...summarise and critically evaluate alternative views and interpretations.
  • ...write for academic audience and the general public on Human Rights in Latin America.


This is a Final Year Advanced Option 1 (Applied) and the assessment model is as follows:

  • Assignment 1: Oral presentation/ Workshop convening (10%)

  • Assignment 2: 1,500 word essay (10%)

  • Assignment 3: Practical written assignment 3,000 words (40%)

  • Assignment 4: 3,000 word essay (40%)

You will find a lot of useful information about essay writing, marking and assessment, ethical approval for research, plagiarism etc. in the History Undergraduate Handbook

All assignmnents will be marked using the University Marking Criteria and History Specific Descriptors. You can find the marking criteria here.

Note: If you think you would like to interview participants for any of your assignments you need to start the Ethics Review Process at least 2 Weeks prior to the deadline for that assignment and before you contact participants. I can talk you through this.

It is worth looking at the ethics review process anyway and we will be discussing the ethics of research during the module.

Assignment 1: Oral presentation/ Workshop convening (10%)

You can find a self assessment for seminar contribution here.

This can be a formal 15 minute presentation followed by questions from the class and a class discussion. Here is a handout with presentation preparation tips.

If you are not so keen on formal presentations and would like to convene a workshop and design some activities and worksheets that will help the seminar group work through the issues for the week, that is also an option.

If you want to do a formal presentation then the maximum time would be around 15 mins (there'll be some leniency with that if you're a group of 3 or more and also, due to tech issues of online seminars for groups of any size.) The idea is that you read the core readings and some of the further readings, as you would for an essay, and you develop an argument, as you would for an essay.
For the workshop, you would need to prepare something equivalent, perhaps a handout (electronic format) that summarises some arguments, includes some relevant extracts from primary and secondary sources and suggests some interesting questions for the students in the seminar to discuss. As a rule of thumb, a transcript for a 15-minute presentation (if you wrote it out) would be about 1500 words and slides would include source extracts, images, key concepts, questions for discussion and references. So, the workshop should include something equivalent that shows you've done that research, but it is more about the convening of an open discussion. An informal discussion like this might last longer than 15 minutes and that's not a problem but you're not expected to keep it all going for two hours!
I suggested the workshop format as an option since I know that not everyone is a fan of public speaking.
In the first term I will be asking people to do group presentation about a source.
All of these are optional but it, in my experience it works well to have student-led seminars. You will complete self-assessments of seminar participation.
Assignment 2: 1,500 word essay (10%)

This can be a short essay, a source analysis or a review of a public history source(s).

For the essay, you will draw up your own question based around the theme of one of the seminars. Here is a handout with essay writing tips.

If you would prefer to do a source analysis this is also a possibility. Here is a handout about writing a source analysis.

If you would prefer to write a review of a public history source(s) that is also an option. Here is a handout about writing a review of a public history source.

A good source for public history about Latin America is the University of Texas, Not Even Past website.

Assignment 3: Practical written assignment 3,000 words (40%)

Information about the Practical Written Assignment (40%)


Chose your topic.

Think about how YOU would choose to address wider publics yourself: what kinds of sources and approaches do you enjoy? What do you think works in terms of debating contemporary concerns, reflecting on their historical roots, or opening up new perspectives for others to consider and incorporate?

Choose one of the options below. Alternatively, you may have another idea to run past the seminar tutor:

Option 1: Write an article for a public audience (see Lacuna Workshop notes):

Many historians and academics researching on human rights in Latin America contribute to public-facing journals aimed at an audience with a keen interest in political processes in Latin America and beyond. NACLA and The Conversation are just a few examples. Their aim is to present the findings of their ongoing research in a way that expresses the main message and appeals to people who are not researchers in the field, who may be interested in the main arguments but who probably have limited time to do extensive further research. When writing for a public audience you need to think carefully about the story and why it is important to write now. Is there an anniversary? Is this a human impact piece or an investigative piece? You also need to have in mind a particular reader and think carefully about how to attract and hold their attention.

Examples of historians’ articles:

Matthew Brown’s Article on the Quipu Project, University of Bristol,The Conversation

Article about Chile from NACLA

Article about Bolivia from NACLA

Option 2. Write a blog intended for a specific, clearly identified (non-academic) readership to interest them in your topic and expose them to some of the complexity and debates that surround it. So you might want to inform school children in the UK Latin American community about rights claims in Latin America; or you might want to inform a UK audience who know very little about Latin America about contemporary Human Rights issues. Your blog must be written in clear and colloquial English, it must be illustrated, and most of all it must be good history (and for us that means with linked citations and a brief bibliography, which will not be included in word count).


The Latin American Bureau, LAIO Blog

LSE blog on Latin America and the Caribbean

The Americas Blog, CEPR

Option 3. Design an online exhibition or gallery exploring your topic. You must include at least 8 objects. These might be cartoons, images from the media, works of art, video clips, oral history snippets, historical objects, or perhaps other digitised items (check with me if you use other ‘exhibits’). You must include a textual introduction to your exhibition or gallery, setting it into historical context and explaining it to a general audience – imagine that your whole extended family, some friends from Uni, and a few of your neighbours were coming along to view it – and you must fully identify, introduce and explain the importance of every object in your exhibition. Again, you must also include a bibliography (not included in word count). See an example here:

Online Exhibition Examples:

Spanish American Independence, British Library online exhibition, 2010

University of Warwick, To the Barricades

You can look at the way museums do this:

Museum of Memory, Chile

Option 4. Make an audio or video podcast. Using clips or readings from existing interviews or primary sources, news footage, images, etc., and/or material you create yourself, you must explore your topic aloud, in your own words. Your podcast should be between 7 and 15 minutes long, should address a contemporary political, social, cultural or public policy question related to human rights and should bring historical knowledge to bear on that question. You must also prepare a bibliography indicating your research sources and the sources of all included material. If you generate your own interviews, you must complete the oral history approval procedures and form. You can find the Ethics review form on this page, under the heading ‘Undergraduates’.


Greg Grandin on Democracy Now.

The best way to submit this is by setting up a Mahara Portfolio

Option 5. The historical context for a report or policy document:

Write the introduction or historical context for a report on your chosen subject or theme. Most NGO or government reports about human rights or those drawn up by international institutions will start with a section providing some historical context or setting the scene for the history of human rights issues in the region or area discussed. This section will indicate how the historical record and recent events have led to the current situation and provide some analysis. Again, you must also include a bibliography (not included in word count).

You can find examples of reports in the Amnesty International collection in the MRC or on the websites of the following organizations and NGOs among others:

Amnesty International

The UN

Washington Office on Latin America

Human Rights Watch

Your assessment should be accompanied by a brief introductory discussion that reflects on why you chose the particular format for your theme and message (eg. a video was appropriate because you are discussing street art as a form of protest). You will need to think about why you have chosen the particular format and why it is the most effective for your chosen audience (eg. history podcasts are popular with educators) You might find it useful to complete the following sentences:I am studying____because I want to know____in order to help my audience______ as a way in to thinking about the topic, format, audience etc. This would also be the place to discuss any ethical considerations (what images to include or exclude, whose voices should be heard etc.). You might find articles about particular forms of public history useful. You'll find them in journals like Public History Review or The Public Historian or edited volumes like A Companion to Public History or The Oxford Handbook of Public History.

You will need to include a bibliography for your research. On a practical level, you can include the introductory discussion and bibliography in a separate document. There will be space on Tabula to upload two documents.

You can find the marking criteria here.

An HI3K3 student entered their Practical Written Assignment for the Faculty of Arts Digital Arts Lab Showcase. The piece on Dominican Race History won the prize for ‘Best Reflection’.

Assignment 4: 3,000 word essay (40%)

For this essay you need to devise a question that talks to the themes of the course. You will probably research from both primary and secondary sources. The balance of primary and secondary sources will depend on the approach you are taking and the argument that you want to make. Take feedback from previous assignments into account when preparing your essay. Here is a handout with essay writing tips.

You will find a lot of useful information about essay writing, marking and assessment, ethical approval for research, plagiarism etc. in the History Undergraduate Handbook

You can find the marking criteria here.