JJUS00007U  Cultural rights: A promising global discourse?

Volume 2018/2019

The course is a IARU Course: an exciting learning experience, that connects students from IARU universities with their peers around the world.

Migration and advances in technology have increased the level of cultural exchange and intermingling, but they have also fostered cultural clashes and incompatibilities that were previously masked by distance. Can cultural rights become a global discourse for supporting inclusive social and political development, and for fostering intercultural dialogue for the mutual understanding of cultures? And can cultural rights become a prime mover by providing a much-needed cultural legitimacy for human rights?

Cultural rights have traditionally been underappreciated. There is support for these rights in the International Bill of Human Rights. The UDHR contains two articles of relevance – Article 26 on the right to education and Article 27 on the right to participate in cultural life and in scientific progress. The same is true for the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) which mentions the right to education in Article 13, and cultural participation, the right to benefit from scientific progress and artists’ rights in Article 15. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) recognizes the right of minorities to enjoy their own culture and to use their own language in Article 27. UNESCO has produced both soft law within several distinct areas of cultural rights and policy – the right to education, linguistic rights, traditional culture and folklore, and cultural diversity – and binding treaties relevant to the area of cultural rights such as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) and to the protection of cultural heritage, both material and immaterial.

This course will take a multidisciplinary approach to cultural rights, exposing students to fields outside their respective core disciplines of study and will use the multinational nature of the students attending to focus on the national versus the global perspective.
Among the topics focused on in the course are copyright and patents; speech and culture, including religion; and the relationship between global, national and local law.

Learning Outcome

Students should develop general skills in:

• Applying relevant theories, methods and tools (legal as well as non-legal) to current problems in the study of cultural rights;

• Identifying, analyzing and understanding the potential of and the challenges that threaten cultural rights;

• Negotiating between the universal and the relative, as well as between the individual and the collective;

• Contributing to the new and developing field of cultural rights;

• Using law in an interdisciplinary and international context.
The course is relevant for all law students – but especially for students who are interested in working in the cultural context or sector (with museums and other cultural heritage institutions, with publishing, the media, and/or with the arts).

- Helle Porsdam, The Transforming Power of Cultural Rights,2019  https:/​​/​​www.cambridge.org/​​core/​​books/​​transforming-power-of-cultural-rights/​​ED75E1B6BA2F57FACC2A63FE88832C44

- Farida Shaheed, Reports from her appointment as UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights http:/​/​www.ohchr.org/​EN/​Issues/​CulturalRights/​Pages/​KarimaBennoune.aspx



Karima Bennoune:

- Report on the intentional destruction of cultural heritage (A/71/317 - https:/​/​documents-dds-ny.un.org/​doc/​UNDOC/​GEN/​N16/​254/​44/​PDF/​N1625444.pdf?OpenElement);

- Report on the impact of fundamentalism and extremism on the enjoyment of cultural rights (A/HRC/34/56 - https:/​/​documents-dds-ny.un.org/​doc/​UNDOC/​GEN/​G17/​007/​43/​PDF/​G1700743.pdf?OpenElement);

- Report on the impact of fundamentalism and extremism on the cultural rights of women(A/72/155 - http:/​/​undocs.org/​A/​72/​155).

- A/73/227, Universality, cultural diversity and cultural rights (Juli 2018) – available at https:/​/​documents-dds-ny.un.org/​doc/​UNDOC/​GEN/​N18/​237/​65/​PDF/​N1823765.pdf?OpenElement


See ’In this section’ and ’Documents’ to the right.


Aprox. 400 pages.

Students are expected to:

- Write a brief essay before the summer school starts on a cultural right of their choice (e.g. the right to education; to take part in cultural life; to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications; or to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which one is the author) and describe why it matters to you (2 pages);
- Complete all reading assignments;
- Attend all sessions;
- Actively participate in group work incl. oral presentation of project proposal (5-10 minutes pr. group member), discussions and field trips.

Social events will be arranged during the course to allow students to mingle and get a truly international experience. Participation is free of charge, but transport costs (if any) are covered by each student.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 178,25
  • Seminar
  • 28
  • Total
  • 206,25
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Oral exam without preparation, 20 minutes
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Exam period

Summer 2019: July 19, 2019


Summer 2019: August 29-30, 2019