CFP: “The Diversity of Human Rights: Human Rights between Morality, Law, and Politics”

Submission deadline: April 15, 2020

Conference date(s):
August 31, 2020 - September 4, 2020

Go to the conference's page

Conference Venue:

Inter-University Centre Dubrovnik
Dubrovnik, Croatia

Topic areas


Course Description

“Human rights are universal, egalitarian, and categorical and refer to fundamental interests of individual human beings. They are historical responses to particularly grave experiences of injustice and threats; they are declared by political actors and institutionalized in legal orders. Regarding their normative implications, they are morally justifiable. Hence, they entail political, legal, and moral dimensions which stand in complex relations towards each other yet cannot be reduced to one of them” (Georg Lohmann).

Georg Lohmann is the founding figure of our course “The Diversity of Human Rights” and its spiritus rector since almost twenty years. As the title he gave to the course already indicates, Lohmann rejects any reductionist approach of human rights not only concerning their content but also with regard to the different disciplinary perspectives we need to study them appropriately. He is convinced that the different types or generations of human rights – civil, political, social and cultural rights – also reflect their complex nature as morally justified, politically interpreted and legally enforced claims of individuals.

With this year’s topic we directly address Lohmann’s central research topic and thus want to honor our colleague and friend as a distinguished human rights scholar. Based on the conviction that recognition in science and philosophy shall take the form of argumentative exchange, we invite human rights scholars from different disciplines and schools of thought to contribute to this conference and to present papers on the complex relations between morality, law, and politics. Welcome are contributions which either discuss Lohmann’s research directly or take a different stance on the fundamental issues regarding our topic.

Examples of relevant questions could be: Is a naturalistic theory, according to which we have human rights simply in virtue of being human, appropriate to capture the nature of human rights? Or should we favor some political or practice-dependent conception instead? Are human rights claims hold exclusively against states of state-like political institutions, or are other agents also bound by human rights obligations? Is a state-centered approach of human rights still the prevailing opinion in International Law? Is the constitutionalization of international law still a realist utopia despite the recent backlash against globalization and multilateral forms of cooperation? Do human rights necessarily include a right to democratic governance? Can Habermas’ thesis of a co-originality of human rights and democracy be defended against liberal and republican alternatives? Is there a way to reconcile the universality of human rights with the particularity of rights to citizenship and of the specific experiences that give rise to concrete human rights claims?  

The annual course “The Diversity of Human Rights” addresses different problems within the human rights discourse. The participants come from various countries and bring in different disciplinary competences relevant for human rights theory and practice. The course aims at an interdisciplinary debate, especially between philosophy, jurisprudence, and political science. Furthermore, the course intends to establish a dialogue between academic researchers and human rights activists from the region.

The organizers invite researchers as well as human rights activists coming from all fields and disciplines, to send in abstracts (deadline: April 15, 2020, e-mail: or that deal with some of the problems and tensions indicated above. From the abstract, the relation to the course's topic should emerge clearly. The course will give room for the presentation of papers and will include workshops especially designed for students and young researchers to present their work in progress. Each director will invite excellent students to participate in the course. The course language is English. The course fee paid to the inter-University Centre will be around 50,- Euro.


Prof. Dr. Elvio Baccarini, University of Rijeka

Prof. Dr. Bernd Ladwig, Free University Berlin

Prof. a.D. Dr. Georg Lohmann, University of Magdeburg

Dr. Ana Matan, University of Zagreb

Prof. Dr. Corinna Mieth, University of Bochum

Prof. Dr. Christian Neuhäuser, University of Dortmund

Prof. Dr. Arnd Pollmann, Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin

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