First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Economics and Political Science
Course unit
EPP3050087, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
EP1980, Degree course structure A.Y. 2013/14, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Department of reference Department of Political Science, Law, and International Studies
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit


ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines IUS/20 Philosophy of Law 6.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 45 105.0 No turn

Start of activities 26/02/2018
End of activities 01/06/2018
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2013 course timetable

Examination board
Examination board not defined

Prerequisites: A basic knowledge of political and legal philosophy is recommended
Target skills and knowledge: The purpose of the course "Human Rights and International Justice" is to provide students with an understanding of the concepts and rights of secession and self-determination.
By the end of the class, successful students will be able to a) distinguish the concepts and principles of self-determination and secession ;b) critically assess the right of self-determination and the "right" to secession in international law and in the European order; c) the major debates and theories on secession e) to analyze the so called "Brexit" (the first secession from the European Union)
Examination methods: For attending students the final exam is written.
For non-attending students the final exam is oral.
Non-attending students will have a different program for the exam to be agreed with prof. Costanza Margiotta (
Assessment criteria: Evaluation: Class Participation and Final written Exam. Attending student can present a paper during the course
Course unit contents: The overall aim of the course is to ask what sense and content the term secession has in the international order and what relationships exist between secession and self-determination. We will discuss the transformations of secession in the North-American context and in the European context. We will stress the necessity of deconstructing the tie between self-determination and secession, which oblige to questions the widespread notion that secession is in international law a corollary of the peoples’ right to self-determination. This permits to highlight how secession, when distinguished from self-determination, is an excellent visual angle to observe the limits of self-determination, which has always enjoyed a high reputation in the legal and political thought.
Nationalism, self-determination and secession: an introduction to these political and legal ideas by looking at how people who see themselves as nations challenge the existing order to assert their right to a state of their own.
Firstly we will introduce the key concept of self-determination and will examine the shifting meaning of self-determination from a conceptual angle.
Secondly, we will look at secession and will examine the shifting meaning of its from a conceptual angle: analysing the relation between the common sense (collective) of secession (separation of a concentrated group from a sovereign State) and its individual forms.
We will then analyse the evolution of self-determination (and secession) in international law and in international practice, including references to case studies.
Thirdly I will outline the principal theories that justify secession and reflect on the questions of the territorial choice and borders institution. The specificity of secession stands on its being crisis of every borders’ consolidated configuration and symptom of borders’ tension.
Finally, we will analyse to the relationship between secession and European legal order, with the case study of so called Brexit.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Classes will be conducted in a mixed, lecture-discussion format. Instructor will provide a short context-setting lecture, and students will prepare questions and notes: the two together will form the basis of a structured discussion.
The course is designed so as to help students to formulate and express their own ideas on the themes taken up. Therefore, discussion is an integral component of the course, and the grade will also be based on participation in class discussions.
Professors from foreign universities will give lectures in this course.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Marcello G. Kohen ed., Secession: International Law Perspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Margiotta Costanza, L'ultimo diritto : profili storici e teorici della secessione. Bologna: Il Mulino, 2005. for students reading in italian Cerca nel catalogo
  • Kohen, Marcelo G., ed., Secession: International Law Perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Unive: Cambridge Univeversity press, 2006. for students not reading in italian Cerca nel catalogo