Philosophy of International Law and Migration


Course Objective

Philosophy of International Law and Migration aims at a law in context
approach, i.e. the course studies societal phenomena (especially
pertaining to international law and migration) in their political and
cultural context and deepens the students understanding of these
phenomena by the study of philosophical texts.

After successfully taking this course students will:
• have acquired knowledge of various philosophical approaches to
inclusion and exclusion in international law and migration;
• have gained experience in close reading and analysis of philosophical
• be able to critically reflect on various philosophical theories of
international law and migration;
• be able to assess the implications of these theories for current
practices of international law and migration.

The course also promotes the academic education of the student, in
particular with reference to:
• independent, academic thought processes and performance;
• communicating and discussing at an academic level;
• reflecting on specialist academic knowledge in a wider philosophical

This corresponds with the following final academic objectives of the
Master: 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 14, 15 and 16.

Course Content

What is the relation between inclusion and exclusion in international
law and migration? That is the central question of this course. Is a
world order conceivable with open borders, or no borders at all? What
would that entail for questions of hospitality and sovereignty? And what
about the other way around: full exclusion by means of rigorous control
of borders, is that plausible? Or is inclusion the inevitable
counter-part of exclusion, meaning that the two are mutually exclusive
while at the same time in constant need of each other?

In this course these topical questions will be addressed from a
philosophical and theoretical perspective. By close reading of some
paradigmatic texts we will endeavour to deepen our understanding of the
complex relation between inclusion and exclusion. We will address
different understandings of inclusion, open borders, closed borders and
exclusion. This will include discussions on the relation between human
rights and the nation state, economic and post-colonial exclusion, the
state of exception and camps. In the two lectures per week these topics
will be addressed and linked to contemporary issues of international law
and migration.

Teaching Methods

Lectures (two per week).

Method of Assessment

Paper and/or written exam (to be announced).


To be announced in the syllabus (Canvas). The reading material will
mostly consist of philosophical texts by modern and contemporary authors
(e.g. Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, Giorgio Agamben).

Target Audience

This course is open to students of the Faculty of Law, regardless of
what Master they have chosen. It is open to exchange students and
contract students (students who pay for one course only).
Philosophy of International Law and Migration does not require specific
knowledge of migration law, international law and/or philosophy. A basic
knowledge of international law and migration law and a keen interest in
philosophical questions concerning law and politics are a plus.

Philosophy of International Law and Migration is a compulsory subject in
the Master
Philosophy of Law & Governance.
As a subsidiary subject (‘bijvak’), Philosophy of International Law and
Migration is also open to enrolment by students from other faculties or
Given the content, the course might also be of interest to students in
Political Studies, International Relationships, Legal Theory, Political
Theory, History, Criminology, Philosophy, Theology, etc. The course also
explicitly welcomes exchange students.

For more information on how to register for a subsidiary subject, please

You are advised to start the application procedure at least six weeks
before the start of the course (i.e. in February), so you have enough
time to follow the application procedure and register in time. The
registration deadline for courses is four weeks before the start of the
period. After the deadline, enrolling or de-enrolling is not possible

Recommended background knowledge

No specific knowledge of international law, migration law and/or
philosophy is required for this course.

General Information

Course Code
Credits 6 EC
Period P5
Course Level 500
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator mr. dr. M.C. Stronks
Examiner mr. dr. M.C. Stronks
Teaching Staff mr. dr. M.C. Stronks

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: