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Law and Belonging in Plural Societies

Course Level

intermediate - advanced / 3rd - 4th year

Prior knowledge in German constitutional law, international human rights protection and public international law are required.

Course Language


Course Classification

This is a Themis course. It is also open to non-Themis students.

Course Type
online course in the winter term 2020/21, no classroom teaching
Contact Hours
2 hrs per week over a period of 9 weeks Students must be online during the dates and times provided in the course catalogue. Please check the course hours through the link provided under the headline "Time Schedule and Course Venue" (below).


5 (if course has been attended regularly and exam has been passed)


This will be the first and the last time that this course is being taught.

Time Schedule and Course Venue

An up-to-date electronic course catalogue will be available for the winter semester from late August to late February and for the summer semester from late February to mid August on the website http://www.fu-berlin.de/vv. Please select "Fachbereiche" - "Rechtswissenschaft" - "Staatsexamensstudiengang" and "Fremdsprachiges rechtswissenschaftliches Lehrangebot" in order to find out course hours and rooms.

Course Description

Law and legal concepts fundamentally shape membership and belonging in contemporary societies. The conditions of belonging are often formulated along the lines of characteristics such as race, religion or gender, but also class, ethnicity or descent. At the same time, access to belonging is limited through borders and nation states’ claim for a right to control migration as an expression of their sovereignty as well as through citizenship.
The course will look at how the law functions as a marker of belonging and exclusion by looking both at conditions of belonging – namely gender, religion and race – as well as at access to and limitations of belonging through borders and citizenship. The course thereby does not focus on a particular legal order but attempts to unravel how particular laws, legal provisions or legal concepts at different levels are used to draw conditions of belonging.

Learning Objectives

The students are able to identify the use of law to structure society and to critically reflect on the seemingly neutral concepts underpinning the legal order in liberal societies. The course will cover the functioning of law with regard to the categories gender, religion, race, borders and citizenship.

Course Organization

This is a reading intensive class and students will need to allocate sufficient time for reading the materials for each session.

Restricted Enrollment

yes (that means that the number of participants is limited and that you might not get a place in this course)

Course Registration

via Campus Management

Please sign up for this course under the module "Study Program for Exchange Students - Module 5".

registration period: 1 - 30 October 2020, 12 p.m. (noon)

In order to know if you have obtained a place in this course, please check out your course plan on Campus Management (tab "Stundenplan") from 31 October 2020.

As long as there are still seats available after the registration period has expired, they will be allocated according to the principle "first come, first served" if you sign up by 20 November 2020.

De-Registration from this Course

via Campus Management

regular drop period: 1 October - 20 November 2020

After the regular drop period you can only drop this course with a valid cause until 14 days prior to the exam. Please contact the International Office at the Law Department if you have to use this option.

Type of Exam

The students are expected to participate actively in the course and to be able to present short oral inputs on the required readings, including case law. Evaluation for exchange students will occur on the basis of oral participation in the course.

Exam Period

throughout the entire course

Registration for the Exam

International exchange students will automatically be registered for the exam when they sign up for this course.

De-Registration from the Exam

Students who drop this course via Campus Management are automatically de-registered from the exam. Students who do not drop this course via Campus Management and do not take part any longer, are going to finish this course with a non-passing grade (0 points).

Grade Release

via Campus Management