Academic Year 2023/2024

  • Docente: Silvia Bagni
  • Credits: 6
  • SSD: IUS/21
  • Language: English
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Ravenna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in International Cooperation on Human Rights and Intercultural Heritage (cod. 9237)

Learning outcomes

Managing cultural diversity and social conflicts and tackling environmental and climate crisis are the two main challenges of our age. Both are interconnected, requesting a global scope of analysis and a comparative approach to understand problems and propose adequate solutions. By trial simulations, students will be led through critical analysis of actual cases. By the end of the course, the student: acquires skills on comparative methodology, in particular applied to the legal field, and knowledge about the different cultural and legal models that have been applied to manage diversity and to tackle environmental issues; is capable of critically analyzing social, cultural and environmental conflicts, from a context-based perspective.

Course contents

This course will first of all define the concept of Caring State, a specific form of State that some constitutional orders are trying to implement and that is theoretically based on two global challenges: Ecological Justice and Intercultural Justice. The course will introduce students to the basics of comparative legal methodology, as the most fitting instrument to approach the subject-matter. The bulk of the course focuses on two distinct but interrelated axes, exploring concepts like development, Anthropocene, interculturalism, legal pluralism.

In particular, the following issues will be addressed:

Legal monism and legal pluralism.

Comparative methodology as an instrument to study global challenges.

Comparative Constitutional Justice as instrument of implementation of the Caring State.

Ecological Constitutionalism.

Intercultural constitutionalism.


Compulsory bibliography for the final exam.

All the bibliography is open access or will be uploaded by the teacher in the moodle. Useful additional materials (ppt of lessons, sources of law and case-law) will be uploaded on the course’s moodle.

1) B.Z. Tamanaha, Law, in Oxford International Encyclopedia of Legal History, 2008 , St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-0095, p. 1-19

2) M. Siems, Comparative Law, 3rd ed., Cambridge University Press, 2022 (selected chapters)

3) S. Bagni, M. Nicolini, Comparative Constitutional Justice, Eleven, The Hague, 2021 (selected chapters)

4) Christopher D. Stone, Should Trees Have Standing?–Towards Legal Rights for Natural Objects, in Southern California Law Review 45 (1972): 450-501.

5) S. Bagni, The enforcement of new environmental rights through the courts: problems and possible solutions, in D. Amirante, S. Bagni (eds), Environmental Constitutionalism in the Anthropocene: Values, Principles and Actions, Routledge, New York/London, 2022, pp. 221-239.


7) C. Taylor, Interculturalism or multiculturalism?, Philosophy and Social Criticism, 38(4-5), 2012, 413–423

8) S. Bagni (coord.), Lo Stato interculturale: una nuova eutopia? – The Intercultural State: a New Eutopia? – El Estado intercultural: ¿una nueva eutopía?, Bologna: Dipartimento di Scienze giuridiche, 2017, ISBN 9788898010455, https://amsacta.unibo.it. DOI: http://doi.org/10.6092/unibo/amsacta/5488 (only the 2 chapters in English)

9) Ashish Kothari, Ariel Salleh, Arturo Escobar, Federico Demaria, Alberto Acosta (eds), Pluriverse: A Post-Development Dictionary, Tulika Books, 2019, Foreward and Introduction, (https://www.ehu.eus/documents/6902252/12061123/Ashish+Kothari+et+al-Pluriverse+A+Post-Development+Dictionary-2019.pdf/c9f05ea0-d2e7-8874-d91c-09d11a4578a2)

10) M. Montini, The transformation of environmental law into ecological law, in K. Anker, P.D. Burdon, G. Garver, M. Maloney and C. Sbert (eds), From Environmental to Ecological Law, Routledge, New York/London, 2021, pp. 11-22.


Teaching methods

The course will be a mix of lectures, discussions in class and teamwork by the students. The inspiring principle of the module is Albert Einstein sentence: “Education is not learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”. So, students’ participation and commitment in the tasks assigned to them during the module will be a fundamental ingredient for the achievement of the collective result.
Many lessons will be held in the form of a lawsuit simulation: the teacher will give students the factual highlights of one or more cases and will assigned to groups of them the role of justices, prosecutors or barristers. They will have to prepare the case at home (through the study of the constitution of the country involved and of the relevant international law suggested by the teacher) and then simulate the trial in class. The following lesson will be dedicated to the discussion of the main legal points emerged from the simulation, on the base of academic readings suggested by the teacher on each topic and of the reading of the real rulings of the court (in full text or extracts).

Assessment methods

General information applicable to IContact courses

The ability of the student to achieve a coherent and comprehensive understanding of the topics addressed by the course, to critically assess them and to use an appropriate language will be evaluated with the highest grades (A = 27-30 con lode).

A predominantly mnemonic acquisition of the course's contents together with gaps and deficiencies in terms of language, critical and/or logical skills will result in grades ranging from good (B = 24-26) to satisfactory (C = 21-23).

A low level of knowledge of the course’s contents together with gaps and deficienciesin terms of language, critical and/or logical skills will be considered as ‘barely passing' (D = 18-20) or result in a fail grading (F).

Attending students

Coursework: 70%. The teacher will assign a score of maximum 20 points to the presentation of the case realized by each group during the lessons. The evaluation criteria will be: skills levels on problem solving, originality of the solutions found, critical sense demonstrated during the defense of the case, suitable means of expression, willingness to work in team and respect towards the others.

Each member of the team will be assigned the same score, notwithstanding the part he has played in class.

Final written exam: 30%. A week before the exam date, students will have to send a short essay (10 pages as maximum, except bibliography, Times New Roman 12, single space) on one of the cases presented in class, different from the one they presented. They will have to explain the Problem, and how they would have solved the case. They will have to demonstrate: 1) to have acquired a sufficient knowledge of the course contents, by applying correctly the concepts learnt in class and from the syllabus readings; 2) to be able to quote coherently authors’ doctrines; 3) to have acquired an adequate legal language; 4) to be able to combine legal or philosophical doctrines and norms or to defend a critical position against a theory discussed in class; 5) to have listened to the teacher’s and classmates’ comments and to be able to answer properly. The essay will be given a score from 0 to 10.

The final score will result from the sum of the two written proofs. The teacher may give extra-points (in particular the “cum laudem”) for the proactive participation in class.

Students who do not accept the vote proposed by the teacher on the 2 written Proofs can do the oral examination on the whole course programme.

Non-attending students
Non-attending students will be assessed on the ground of course's bibliography and additional materials available on the teacher’s moodle. Firstly, they will have to pass a multiple choice test, consisting of 30 items on the suggested bibliography. Then, only if they get the sufficiency in the multiple choice test (18/30), they will be admitted to the oral exam, that will be held in the same day, immediately after the correction of the test. The score assigned will be on the base of 30/30. The final score will result from the arithmetic average of the two proofs.

Teaching tools

Moodle of the course in Virtuale.

Students with a form of disability or specific learning disabilities (DSA) who are requesting academic adjustments or compensatory tools are invited to communicate their needs to the teaching staff in order to properly address them and agree on the appropriate measures with the competent bodies.

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Silvia Bagni


Peace, justice and strong institutions

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.