The Human Right to Health
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleFTR-FIPPSB226
Credits (ECTS)5
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies; Opleiding Filosofie;
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. E.A.V. Matthies-Boon
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. E.A.V. Matthies-Boon
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. E.A.V. Matthies-Boon
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2023
SEM1  (04/09/2023 to 28/01/2024)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
At the end of this course, you will: 
  • have a critical understanding of the human right to health and its relation to both global politics and global institutions;
  • be able to place political questions of (ill) mental and physical health in their respective historical, social, political, economic and institutional contexts;
  • have thorough knowledge of the literature on critical disability studies, crip theory, the phenomenology off illness, critical psychology and critical theory, and be able to apply this to an empirical case of their own choosing.
With reservation

Health, and the global politics of health, came to the forefront of public and political consciousness again through the Covid 19 pandemic. Suddenly, health was no longer an issue of the private individual or medical sphere, but rather came bursting on the (global) political scene, leaving polarized traces in its wake. Taken for granted ways of living one's life were altered (for some more than others), whilst questions of safety, freedom, solidarity, vulnerability, inequality as well as the potential disposability of (allegedly unworthy) forms of life rose high on the public agenda.

This course will hence explicitly focus on the human right to health, and it will do so from an interdisciplinary point of view focused on questions of (global) justice. We will thus not only explore what the human right to health legally entails but also in what ways it may best be socially and politically institutionalized and manifested. Topics we will thus discuss include the global politics of health, how struggles for health are related to (global) structural social and political inequalities (of health), and what it (supposedly) means to be a "healthy or therapeutic self". This course will have a tripartite structure, wherein we specifically focus on the global institutionalization of health, the embodiment of (ill) health and mental health (or the "healthy self"). Importantly, this course will thus not only treat (ill) health as an individual medical problem but rather place it in its political, economic and social constitutive context. We will thus draw on the literature on critical disability studies, crip theory, the phenomenology off illness, critical psychology as well as critical theory.

Presumed foreknowledge

Test information
The main assessment of this course will be a final paper (75%). However, students are also expected to produce a 20-25 min podcast in a small group (25%). Further details on both these assignments will be included in the detailed course outline. 
This course is part of a module of three courses in the Philosophy, Politics and Society bachelor programme. You can only take this course if you also take the two associated courses during the same semester. If you want to register for the three courses in this module, you must FIRST register for the module itself via the 'Minor' tab in Osiris, and THEN register for the courses themselves. For an overview of modules and their associated courses, see the course guides on the website of the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies.
Required materials
Articles and book chapters made available through the University library system and Brightspace

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Test weight1
Test typePaper
OpportunitiesBlock SEM1, Block SEM2