Courses 2010

European Monetary Union

Ernest Gnan/Claudia Kwapil July 19 - July 30 4 ECTS credits


In no other area has European integration advanced as much as in the monetary area. By joining the European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) 16 countries of the European Union have given up their national currencies and their monetary sovereignty and have created a common monetary area with a joint central banking system (Eurosystem) and a common European currency (euro). With the introduction of the euro notes and coins Europe also got a strong common symbol. At the same time, the US dollar received a potential competitor for its role as the dominant international currency. Twelve new member countries – mainly from Central and Eastern Europe – joined the European Union between 2004 and 2007. Since then these countries have been preparing their economies to meet the requirements of membership in the EMU and indeed, some of them have already joined the euro area.


The course aims at providing students with in-depth knowledge of institutional and economic issues related to EMU, so that they can form their own views on this and related topics. A practical case study will enhance the learning experience.

The course will cover the following topics:

  • Why independent central banks?
  • Stages, history and rationale of monetary integration in Europe
  • Costs and benefits of a monetary union – past and future enlargement of the euro area
  • The common monetary policy in practice – goals, principles, strategy, instruments, decision-making bodies and processes
  • The euro as a shield against crises? Policy responses during, and challenges after the “Great Recession”
  • Four monetary policy strategies in comparison (Eurosystem, Fed, Bank of England, Bank of Japan)
  • Past and future role of central banks in the area of financial stability
  • The international dimension of the euro – exchange rate policy, international role of the euro


This course is regularly organized with the support of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).




The Institutional Framework of the European Union

Christine Neuhold July 19 - July 30 4 ECTS credits


The course will focus on the unique political system of the European Union. Students will be introduced to the main institutions playing a role in the decision- making process and to some of the main decision-making procedures. Furthermore an introduction will be given to the legal order of the EU by covering the main sources of Community Law.
The course very much builds on the active participation of participants. Simulations and debates will form an integral part of the program.


The first part of the course will focus on the Institutional Framework of the EU by examining:

  • Some basic theories relating to the EU and their implications for the EU institutions.
  • The main sources of Community Law and where relevant their repercussions on the institutional framework.
  • The role of the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers within the EU’s institutional framework (and where relevant their evolution during the process of European integration). The role of the Court of Justice will be examined only briefly.

This section will conclude with a debate within small groups, where issues such as legitimacy and efficiency of the institutions will be discussed. If possible each group should focus on a different institution, by way of basic questions, which can be modified. Participants will be asked to report back to plenary.


The second part will concentrate on decision making within the European system by looking at:

  • Some of the main decision making procedures such as consultation and codecision
  • The role of non-institutional actors such as NGOs in the EU’s decision making process

This part will close with a simulation on a Council Working Party (participants will “negotiate” on behalf of different member states). “Country-mandates” and instructions will be provided.


Requirements: Class participation including debate and simulation (40%) and an essay exam (60%).

It is recommended to take this course in conjunction with Prof. Schima’s course: European Union Law. The Contribution of the European Court of Justice.




Traces of European History

Europe’s Way to the 21st Century

Karl Vocelka July 19 - July 30 4 ECTS credits

Europa of today cannot be understood without the history of the continent we meet in every important question of the present. Especially in the 20th century Europe has undergone a series of dramatic economic, political and cultural changes. The study of some of these developments will allow a deeper insight in the history of European countries and their feeling of identity. Specific problems of Europe and the world of today will be discussed within a historical perspective and in relation to the history and politics of the home countries/nations of the participating students.


The course will focus on Central Europe in a broad sense of the term and will cover the following topics:

  • General introduction: What can history contribute to the understanding of the present situation in Europe?
  • Survey of data on the European History from the late 19th century to the present. How the map of Europe has changed.
  • Economic development in Europe since the Age of Industrialisation.
  • Nationalism as a long term problem in Europe. National state versus European unification.
  • Different ideologies which influenced and still influence European history (Marxism, Communism, Conservativism, Nationalism, Fascism).
  • Changes in daily life (housing, food, beverages, sexuality).
  • Technological and scientific progress and its price (ecological questions).
  • European culture / cultures – one or many?
  • Is there a European identity?


Requirements: Attendance and participation in class discussions constitute 20%, a short paper 30% and a written final (essay-type) 50% of the grade.




European Political Systems

Sylvia Kritzinger July 19 - July 30 4 ECTS credits

This course familiarizes students with the major theoretical, empirical and substantive issues in contemporary European politics.

First, the course offers a short overview of the basic concepts and notions of comparative politics with a particular focus on the organizing principles of democracy.

Second, it examines the governmental institutions, electoral systems, party systems, policymaking practices and social cleavages of Europe.

Third, it describes and analyzes political systems of the EU Member States as well as the European Union along the theoretical lines presented.

The course aims at deepening the understanding of the main debates in contemporary comparative politics.


Requirements: Performance will be assessed on the basis of attendance and participation in class discussions (20 %), a short presentation on a EU Member State (30%) reporting and reflecting critically the basic concepts and notions of comparative politics, and a written final exam (essay-type) (50%).




European Private Law – The Civilian Tradition

Franz-Stefan Meissel July 19 - July 30 4 ECTS credits

The course offers a historical and comparative introduction to European Private Law. Today’s variety of legal systems in Europe can´t be properly understood without reference to European Legal History. Thus, one part of the course will be devoted to the development of European Private Law and the specific contribution of the Civilian Tradition. Particular attention is to be paid to the dominant forces of law making in the different legal systems: magistrates and legal experts in Ancient Roman Law, professors and clergymen in Medieval Law, judges in the Common Law and legislators in Modern Continental Law.

Furthermore, basic concepts of Private Law such as property, contracts and extra contractual obligations will be dealt with in this course in a comparative perspective. This will be done mainly in form of discussions about specific cases ranging from the transfer of movables to the restitution of assets to Nazi victims, from the discussion about ”good faith” in European Contract Law to claims of an agent of necessity. Special emphasis will be placed on the discussion of possible solutions, the analysis of court decisions and the evaluation of legislative choices.


I. Lawyers, Judges, Legislators. The Making of European Law

  • The different meanings of the term “European Private Law”, the Question of a European Civil Code
  • Roman Law: The Jurists´ Role in the Development of Law as a Science
  • Medieval Law: The Scholarship of the Professors of Civil and Canon Law
  • The Emergence of Common Law as opposed to Civil Law: Judges as Law Makers
  • The Codification(s) of Private Law in Continental Europe


II. Case Studies in European Private Law

  • Property (The Concept of Property, Transfer of Property)
  • Acquisition in Good Faith: the Mahler-Werfel Restitution Case as an example
  • Liberty of Contract and Equality in Exchange
  • Good Faith in European Contract Law
  • Extra contractual Obligations: the Witty Genealogist’s Case


Requirements: Regular attendance and active participation in class discussions (40%) and an open-book essay exam (60%).




European Security after the Cold War

Hanspeter Neuhold July 19 - July 30 4 ECTS credits



1. Basic Security Strategies:

  • collective defence
  • collective security
  • cooperative security
  • neutrality


2. European Security after the Cold War, “9/11” and the Global Economic Crisis:
The new structure of the international system: between unipolarity and non-polarity.

  • good news:
    • the peaceful end of the Cold War
    • the new pan-European value platform and the theory of democratic peace
    • progress in the areas of European integration and security cooperation
    • arms control and steps towards disarmament
  • bad news:
    • the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
    • new dimensions of terrorism and organized crime
    • ecological security: climate change as a security problem
    • energy security
    • migration and refugee movements
    • health as a security problem
    • food security


3. Global, Transatlantic and European Security Institutions:

  • the UN: its mixed record after the Cold War
  • NATO: the “new NATO” – litmus test in Afghanistan?
  • the EU: economic giant – political and military dwarf?
  • the OSCE: the possibilities and limitations of pan-European cooperative security


Requirements: Students will have a choice between a final oral or written exam on which the final grade will be mainly based; participation in class during the course will also be taken into account.




European Union Law

The Contribution of the European Court of Justice

Bernhard Schima August 2 - August 13 4 ECTS credits


This course is designed to help students understand the system of judicial protection in European Union (EU) law and the importance of the contribution of the European Court of Justice to the development of constitutional principles of the Union.

This course will:

  • discuss the various judicial remedies in the EU legal order with particular emphasis on the infringement procedure and the preliminary reference procedure
  • show how the Court of Justice derived the basic constitutional principles of direct effect and supremacy, governing the relationship between EU law and national legal orders
  • highlight how the Court of Justice in its case-law has contributed to making EU law more effective for the benefit of the individual by developing the concept of Member State liability for violations of EU laww
  • examine the Court’s contribution to the development of fundamental rights in the EU legal order
  • study the impact of these principles by looking at concrete examples taken from different areas of substantive law (e. g. the internal market, Union citizenship).


Requirements: Performance will be assessed on the basis of a short quiz at the end of the first week and a written final exam. Class participation will be taken into account.

This course is recommended for students with prior knowledge of the institutions of the European Union or who have taken Prof. Christine Neuhold’s course: The Institutional Framework of the European Union.



European and International Protection of Human Rights

Walter Suntinger August 2 - August 13 4 ECTS credits


Human rights are arguably the only universally recognized value system at the beginning of a new millennium. They constitute the main source of governmental legitimacy and at the same time set limits to governmental power. They represent guidelines for interaction between human beings, groups and people, and they provide limitations to the forces of neo-liberalism in a globalized society.

This is a survey course on international human rights (law) and existing mechanisms to promote and protect them. It deals with the history and philosophy of human rights and their place within the global legal and political system. Using case studies and practical examples, the course focuses on the meaning of selected human rights provisions and introduces the methods and principles of the practical application of human rights. It covers topics such as the UN and regional systems for human rights promotion, protection and enforcement, as well as the role of national institutions, including the judiciary, in implementing human rights.


Requirements: Regular attendance and participation in class discussion (20%) and a final exam (80%).


This course is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Marina Fistoulari Mahler.




Law and Information Society in Europe

Nikolaus Forgó August 2 - August 13 4 ECTS credits


This course will focus on European and global trends in the legal regulation of information and communication technologies. Specific attention will be attributed to copyright, identity management, consumer protection and privacy in a globalized information society. We will work on the relevant European directives and compare them with other legal, technical and social approaches.



  • Law as Code and Code as Law? The relations between technical, social, economical and legal forms of regulation
  • Regulation of Information: The European approach
  • Transparency, Privacy and Data Protection: outdated concepts in an information society?
  • Identity, Authenticity and Security in a globalized network-environment


Recommended Reading: Lawrence Lessig, Code and other Laws of Cyberspace; additional texts and cases will be distributed throughout the course.

Requirements: Regular attendance and active participation in class discussions (40%) and an open-book essay exam (60%).


This course is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Brandl & Talos.




Europe Beyond the Nation State

Peter Gerlich August 2 - August 13 4 ECTS credits

As the international system changes after the Cold War, the reference of nation states is increasingly called into question. The concepts of union or of empire are often invoked as alternatives. Analogies are drawn between historical experiences and contemporary developments. These are either realistic or idealistic. The U.S. are frequently described as a modern Rome, while the EU more often is put into a utopian perspective. Combining approaches of political theory, of the history of international relations and of modern comparative political science, this course will try to look into and discuss these and related questions.


Topics include:


I. Empires in history

  • The logic of empires
  • Ancient empires: Athens and Rome
  • The British Empire


II. Union experiences

  • Rise and fall of nation states
  • Unions in comparison
  • The United States of America as union and empire


III. European visions

  • The EU as a superstate
  • The EU as a cosmopolitan empire
  • The Europeanization of the world


Requirements: Regular attendance and active participation in class discussion (30%) and a final written exam (70%).




Multiculturalism and the Construction of Self

Expressions of Difference and Sameness

Jyoti Mistry August 2 - August 13 4 ECTS credits


In a world where global trends and access to consumer culture appears to unify much of the world, communities and individuals who cross borders and encounter or live in different contexts experience differences in real and tangible ways. This course provides students with an introduction to the discourses of multiculturalism and the social sciences and cultural studies language with which to articulate notions of “difference and sameness.” It addresses the social construction of stereotypes and its political functions and how those stereotypes come to be challenged both through cultural practices and creative expressions.
The course aims to provide students the context to reflect on their own experiences of “otherness” and to afford the opportunity for theoretical and analytical reflection. Students will be introduced to the theoretical and analytical frameworks of cultural studies and they will explore how cultural pluralisms are either reproduced or challenged through ideological apparatuses or subcultures.

No prior background in the social sciences or cultural studies is necessary. Students who have an intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm for the theories of representation and the construction of representations will find the course stimulating and interesting. The seminars include film screenings, readings from literary texts and references to the visual arts.

The first component of the course is an essay that deals with the theoretical and analytical frameworks that address cultural differences, cultural pluralism and multiculturalism. The second component develops out of the discussions and exercises in class and is developed into a final photo-essay project that students propose in class. The photo-essay is exhibited with a 500-word introduction that provides the conceptual undertaking of the project.


Requirements: Attendance and participation (20% of the grade), written essay (40% of the grade), photo essay with an introduction (40% of the grade). There will be no exam for this course.