What are ‘minority rights’? What are the main landmarks in European history that led to the emergence of minority rights? How do states ensure protection of minority rights? What are the crucial elements of minority rights and what are European practices on them? These are some of the questions that will be addressed at the seminar run by the ECMI research team at the OSCE Academy in Bishkek between 11 and 15 June 2018.
The seminar is an outcome of the cooperation between the ECMI and OSCE Academy, and is offred to the Master’s students of the Academy. ECMI Director Prof. Dr. Tove Malloy and Senior Research Associates Dr. Sergiusz Bober, and Dr. Ljubica Đorđević-Vidojković will deliver lectures and interactive seminars throught the next week.
Minority issues have been part of European history and politics since the middle of the 16th century. Early on religious minorities and later national and linguistic minorities came to be seen as threats to the homogeneity of societies, as well as to processes of nation- and state-building. Minorities who left Europe for the New World experienced less pressure as distinct groups but were nevertheless met with lack of acceptance and respect. In the 20th century, minorities in Europe became the object of major bellicose conflicts and were seen as an anomaly of international relations – at times as a “fifth column”. Domestically, traditional minorities had to fight their own way to be able to remain in their homelands while new arrivals were received with rejection and were expected to return home. At the same time, personal identity became a public domain item and minority groups emerged and formed on the basis of identity and difference. Whether in “old Europe” or the New World, minorities have often been seen as a threat to peace and security and mostly as outsiders who do not fit in. In the early 21st Century of inter-connected societies, minorities are more than ever seen as a threat to social cohesion. The Seminar addresses all these and many other aspects of minority history and politics as well as social and cultural issues related to the identities of minority groups.
The aim of the course is to provide students with in-depth knowledge and robust skills on the basis of which to develop an informed understanding of minority issues in the 21st Century. The approach of the Seminar is multi-disciplinary. Minority issues will be examined from the perspectives of political science and law, including international human rights law and international relations studies, political theory, political sociology and cultural studies.
The specific objectives of the Seminar are:
- To enable students to place the issues of minorities in the wider context of European history/politics and the practice of European governance,
- To enable students to understand, critically analyze, and evaluate contemporary debates about minorities,
- To enable students to understand the political and ethical implications of academic research in relation to minority issues.