International Norms and their Application: Border Disputes, Self-determination and Minority Protection

Course Description: 

External Minority Protection


The course will concentrate on problems of national self-determination and external minority protection.  We will examine various theories of self-determination, the extent and actual content of self-determination rights, the extent to which self-determination is regarded as a legal right, and current initiatives to extend and redefine self-determination rights as benefiting minorities, too.


This course will examine issues that remain hotly debated to our day. Where possible, readings are selected to introduce students to the polemical arguments advanced on various sides of these debates.  The readings provide a historical account of experiments with self-determination and international minority protection as well as a cross section of contemporary debates within various disciplines.


There will be a set of readings assigned for each class for all participants.   Few days before the class you will receive discussion questions by email to help you to prepare for the class discussion of the readings.  Please always bring your reader to class.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the class, students will have acquired basic knowledge of international norms related to self-determination and external minority protection and the debates that surround these norms. The course draws upon several distinct approaches - including international law, political theory and history – and thereby enhances students’ multidisciplinary skills and orientation.




Individual assignments will be the following:


Seminar presentation and paper.  You will be asked to select one topic from the list of classes below. You will be asked to write one seminar paper (ca. 2500-2750 words, with bibliography added).  You are asked to select one topic from the list of class topics.  Your paper should focus on the problems explored by the class readings for your selected topics and include one relevant case study suggested by you.  You are welcome to consult on your selection of a case study in advance of making a decision.    


You will be asked to present (in 15 minutes) a preliminary oral version of your paper in a seminar session.  Written papers should be submitted at the end of the term.    Once you signed up for a paper you are advised to consult with your colleagues who also signed up for the same session.  Your oral presentation should include your explanation of how your case study connects to the main topic of the class session, and your case study. You are advised to prepare a fact sheet that contains the most important data (dates, map, names, events) to be distributed to all class participants at the time of your presentation.  This will save you time to present your thoughts.  The final written version of your paper should also include a bibliography.  


Discussion questions       

You are welcome to comment on all discussion questions in class or via email. During the term you are requested to address some of the questions during class discussion. 



Grading will be based on class participation (30%) and the seminar paper (30% for the oral presentation, 40% for the final written version).  Class participation will be considered satisfactory if you regularly participate in class discussions and excellent if you exhibit a good grasp of the issues involved.    

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