Module Catalogue 2020/21

POL2090 : Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion: Social Issues in Contemporary Political Philosophy

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Andrew Walton
  • Teaching Assistant: Dr Meera Inglis
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



To introduce students to prominent schools of thought and representative thinkers in contemporary political philosophy.

To provide students with a thorough knowledge of a range of arguments drawn from this literature on important political issues around equality, diversity, and inclusion.

To advance the ability of students to analyse and assess complex normative arguments.

To help students improve their skills in developing sustained, logically coherent, and persuasive oral and written arguments.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module explores questions of how the social and political world ought to operate, with a particular focus on equality, diversity, and inclusion. It considers questions such as: Ought we to restrict hate speech? Should we use affirmative action policies? How should wealth be distributed, within and across borders? What kind of leave should be offered to parents? Should minority groups be granted exemptions from the law when it conflicts with their cultural or religious beliefs? The module examines these questions by considering prominent literature in normative political philosophy and political science, beginning with the influential contributions of John Rawls and proceeding through contributions that arose in response to or after Rawls’ work. The focus of the module will be to read key literature on these subjects and consider the merits of conflicting viewpoints with the aim of exploring what a defensible account of justice requires.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

•       Knowledge of theories and perspectives on aspects of equality, diversity, and inclusion advanced by a range of prominent contemporary thinkers
•       Knowledge of the core disagreements between these theorists, particularly in terms of the foundational normative values and the political views they defend.
•       Knowledge of methods and arguments employed to reason about the plausibility of moral values.
•       Knowledge of how moral values can be used to support substantive conclusions on important political topics, such as liberty, dignity, discrimination, equal opportunities, multiculturalism, and distributive justice.

Intended Skill Outcomes

•       The ability to identify and explain the main tenets of the work of prominent theorists of justice.
•       The ability to break down their views into component parts, separating normative and empirical premises and identifying how they are connected to derive conclusions.
•       The ability to reason logically about the validity of the premises and arguments of these views.
•       The ability to construct sustained arguments about major political values and defend them against alternative views.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching121:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The main function of lectures is to provide students with an overview of topics and introduce them to the main thinkers studied on the module.
Small group teaching provides students with the opportunity to discuss and debate the issues with their peers, to deepen their knowledge through exchange of ideas about set readings, and to further understanding by raising questions. They also provide a forum to develop oral and team skills in various activities.
Both of the above require students to undertake pre-set readings in order to familiarise themselves with relevant issues and ideas beforehand and be prepared to undertake set tasks.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination901A50Unseen written exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Both forms of assessment are designed to encourage students to verse themselves in the relevant reading material, present lines of disagreement and debate, and consider how particular positions can be systematically defended and criticised. The essay is used to ensure students can take a specific topic and work through it in considerable depth, while the exam provides a scenario in which students have been pushed to build a knowledge of the various topics on the module that can be recalled and applied in a set timeframe.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.