Course “The Diversity of Human rights”:
Human rights and democracy in the age of globalization
InterUniversity Centre Dubrovnik,
Directors: Prof. Dr. Bernd Ladwig, Freie Universität Berlin; Prof. Dr. Georg Lohmann, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg; Dr. Ana Matan, Universität Zagreb, Croatia; Prof. Dr. Zvonko Posavec, Universität Zagreb
The annual course concerns several problems of human rights discourses. The participants come from different nations and bring in different disciplinary competences relevant for human rights theory and practice: The Course aims at an interdisciplinary debate between philosophy, jurisprudence, and political science, confronting them also with the insights and experiences of human rights activists from the region.
The topic of next year’s course will be “Human rights and democracy in the age of globalization”. The first part of the title, concerning the relation between human rights and democracy, refers to a well-known debate between liberals and republicans: Are human rights moral restrictions any demos has to take into account in order to rule its internal and external affairs legitimately (the liberal position) Or should we take human rights to be themselves a function, and maybe also a functional prerequisite, of democratic processes (the republican counterpart)? One further possibility might be to avoid the liberal-republican divide by differentiating more clearly between the moral, the political, and also the juridical dimension of human rights, without prioritizing any of these dimensions.
Now, processes of globalization seem to reduce significantly the scope of democratic politics, at least within the realm of particular nation states. Can this loss be compensated by gains in the realm of human rights, e.g. by means of improving the conditions for enforcing them globally (which seems to presuppose that the liberal position is basically right)? Or can democracy be re-established at the level of inter-, trans-, and supranational politics so that the “republican” relation between democratic will-formation and human rights would re-emerge on a higher level?
In that regard it would be crucial to clarify how much diversity is compatible with, or even required by, human rights. That obviously depends on how we should understand the universalism underlying human rights. How context-sensitive must it be? Should we prefer an iterative universalism or a covering-law universalism, to use Michael Walzer’s famous phrases?
The course will give room for the presentation of papers as well as for workshops especially designed to give students and young researchers the opportunity to present projects. Each director will invite excellent students to participate in the course. The language is English.