The course is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the major issues and questions within the purview of minority protection. Following a theoretical introduction and general discussions about the concept and evolution of minority rights and various rights-based approaches to recognizing minorities, such as individual rights, collective rights, self-determination, land-rights equality, discrimination and affirmative action, separate sessions are dedicated to the analysis of specific and specialized legal regimes and institutions. These include the assessment of indigenous rights, refugee protection as well as the scrutiny of legal and political dilemmas concerning hate speech, hate crimes, the legal conceptualization of minority identity and the processing of ethno-national data.

There will be weekly meetings in a seminar format. Seminar discussions of the required readings will have two parts: a general discussion, in which all students are expected to participate, and individual student presentations that explore, contest, or specify the major arguments of the required readings.

This interdisciplinary course is designed to engage and challenge students in critical debates. The subject combines several areas of legal studies—human rights, legal theory, theory of EU law, rights of ethnic minorities—with various fields within the social sciences. Besides reading excerpts from books and academic articles, students will also become familiar with a wide range of case law dealing with the topic. Each session is designed to combine academic articles and excerpts from books with legal texts or reports and policy recommendations by international organizations, and with the analysis of case law and jurisprudence. Students will not be given ready answers at the outset; instead, they will be encouraged to take an active part in debating and understanding the analyzed issues.

For each class, the reader contains the mandatory readings. Recommended materials are available on the e-learning site. Readings are either directly assigned to students for presentation, or provide background information for complex issues which students need to present as a starting point for class discussions. All presenters are expected to be familiar with the recommended readings and are required to prepare send notes to the entire group by 13,00 on Tuesday, the day before class. Late notes and failure to show up or present at class without prior notice will be penalized.