The course aims at introducing to the language, history and theories of fundamental rights, by providing conceptual bases and linguistic skills that are important for the study of issues regarding the implementation and protection of specific rights, that are considered in other courses in the same curriculum. Special attention will be paid to questions concerning the internationalization of rights.
Expected learning outcomes
- Knowledge and understanding of notions of subjective, fundamental and human rights; their contextualization in an historical perspective, starting with their theorizing, going through their positivization, up to the more recent processes of multiplication and internationalization; - Knowledge and understanding of the main questions in contemporary debate regarding the foundation of rights, their implementation, and the problems of their ineffectivity and of conciliating their universality with cultural diversity; - Capability to apply knowledge and understanding to the analysis of contemporary processes of transformation and proliferation of rights at the national, international and supranational levels; - Capability to apply the acquired knowledge to the analysis and discussion of specific legal cases raising the problem of the conflict of fundamental rights and of their balancing.
Lesson period: Second trimester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
The course will be structured in two units of ten classes each. The first unit will consider fundamental rights as an institution of positive law, combining historical and theoretic lectures. The historical lecture will address the following topics: the shift from natural law theories to rights theories; the first charters of rights, from the Magna Charta to the French Declaration of 1789; the process of rights' posivitization; the XIX century criticism of the idea of natural rights; the emerging of women's and workers' rights, the gradual increase both of the number of holders of fundamental rights and of the number of those rights; the constitutionalizing and internationalizing of fundamental rights. The theoretic lectures will address the following topics: the concept of fundamental rights in relation to the broader category of individual rights; the function of fundamental rights in the constitutional State; the link between fundamental rights and democracy; conflicts between fundamental rights and strategies for the resolution of those conflicts; the relation between fundamental rights, liberalism and equality. The second unit will address the problem of the justification of fundamental rights and other issues central in the contemporary debate for the perspective of fundamental rights, including: the fundamental right to personal sovereignty; the link between liberty rights and personal security; the foundation and limits of the freedoms of speech and of the press; the relation between liberty of conscience, secularism, tolerance and neutrality; the status of the right to immigrate among fundamental rights; the fundamental rights of minority cultures; the tensions between women's rights and cultural rights.
A bibliography in English on the topics of the course will be provided on request to non-attending students who want to take the final exam in English.
Prerequisites for admission
No preliminary knowledge is required. The standard language for lectures and class presentations will be Italian and attending students will be required to read texts and participate to class discussion in that language. Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to take part to these activities could take the exam in English as non-attending students.
The teaching activities will include lectures and class discussions. They may also include class presentations. The standard language for those activities will be Italian. Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend classes with profit could take the exam in English as non-attending students. For the final exam, non-attending students who want to take the exam in English should prepare the texts listed in a bibliography that will be provided by the teacher on request. Students who need clarification on the assigned texts can ask the teacher during office hours.
Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend the classes with profit, but who are interested in the topics of the course, could take the exam in English as non-attending students. The bibliography with the texts to study for the exam must be asked to the teacher by email.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students who don't have the knowledge of the Italian language necessary to attend classes with profit could take the exam in English as non-attending students. In that case, students should inform the teacher by email at least three days before the exam session. The final exam for non-attending students will consist in a mandatory written test and in an optional oral test, that could change the result of the written test of a maximum of two marks, for better or for worse. Both tests will cover the texts listed in a bibliography in English that will be provided by the teacher on request.