Politics & International Relations taster session

This taster session gives you an insight into studying Politics & International Relations at university.

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Can torture ever be justified?

This taster session will focus on the question of whether torture can ever be justified. In the process examining who makes the decisions about who to torture and how to torture them? If torture is illegal why does it occur so often? Why did the US and UK torture suspected terrorists in the War on Terror? The prohibition against torture is firmly embedded in international law and international treaties, but who does the right not to be tortured apply to? Most discussions of torture focus on human rights, but what about animal rights? You will explore all these debates and more to give you a first-hand look of what it is like to study Politics & International Relations at Sheffield.   

Book your place here

Please be advised that bookings for all taster sessions will close at 10am the day before the session, or earlier if the session becomes fully-booked. We therefore recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.

If you are a teacher, please encourage your pupils to book individually.


When: Tuesday 30 November 2021, 3:00pm - 5:00pm

Age group: Year 12, Year 13

Places are limited, book now to avoid disappointment.


This virtual experience day at the University of Sheffield will give you a taste of what it is like to study Politics and International Relations at University. The online taster day will focus on the question of whether torture can ever be justified? The use of torture is illegal and the right not to be tortured is written into international law. Yet both the American and British governments tortured individuals during the War on Terror following 9/11 for reasons of self-defence and to protect national security from terrorist threats. There have also been numerous reports that torture happens in many conflicts around the world in order to gather information, prevent defection, punish, and encourage compliance. Despite the widespread use of torture, it has been proven to be ineffective, strengthen the opposition, as well as being unethical. Torture violates human rights and dignity, causing severe pain and long lasting psychological harm. Most discussions of torture focus on human rights, but what about animal rights? Does the castrations of pigs, artificial insemination of cows, de-beaking also constitute torture? If torture treats the victim as a means to an end, as a ‘thing’, not as a person with values, then does this mean that animal testing is torture?

You will explore these questions, as well examining why states decide to torture people. Who makes the decisions about who to torture and how to torture them? If torture is illegal why does it occur so often? The prohibition against torture is firmly embedded in international law and international treaties, but who does the right not to be tortured apply to? For example, should animals also be protected from torture under law? As well as the various debates about torture during the Taster Day, you will look at the use of torture in the War on Terror, to give you a first-hand look of what it is like to study Politics & International Relations at Sheffield. You will virtually meet a number of our members of staff as they introduce you to different points of view and debates, and ask you whether you think torture can ever be justified.  

Schedule

Time Activity
3:00pm Welcome
3:05pm Topic - Can torture be justified? The dirty hands debate - Dr Helen Louise Turton
3:35pm Topic - Who can be tortured? Animal ethics debate – Dr Alasdair Cochrane
Break  
4:15pm Torture and the War on Terror – Professor Ruth Blakeley
4:45pm Conclusion and Q&A
5:00pm Finish

We look forward to meeting you!

For informal enquiries please email tasterdays@sheffield.ac.uk

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