Research Projects Contact Information

The Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights
Faculty of Law
P.O. BOX 4 (visiting address: Yliopistonkatu 3)
Tel: +358 (0)29 4123140


Human Rights: Law, Religion and Subjectivity

The project studies the language of “human rights” and the normative implications
of its inherent emphasis on the “subject” especially in the fields of law and theology. The project departs from the recognition that human rights form a kind of normative meta-language.

Specialist discourses, in this case the languages of law and theology, struggle to retain an authoritative societal position unless they are translated into the human rights vocabulary. For this reason, legal and religious obligations are frequently re-described as rights of “the subject” that strive to protect individual freedom and human dignity. This inter-disciplinary project consists of two post-doctorate and three Ph.D projects. The venture continues earlier collaboration with numerous other research projects and academic institutions. Apart from individual monographs and other scholarly publications, the project is preparing a book on “Revisiting the Origins of the Human Rights: Genealogy of a European Idea” which contributes to the expanding scholarship on the intellectual origins of human rights.

Institutional setting
The institutional setting of the project is created by the Erik Castrén Institute of
International Law and Human Rights. The project is also a part of two Centres
of Excellence: Professor Tuomas Ojanen is a member of the Centre of Excellence
in Foundations of European Law and Polity and Dr. Miia Halme-Tuomisaari and
Dr. Pamela Slotte are postdoctoral fellows at the Centre of Excellence in Global
Governance Research. These institutions offer a stimulating intellectual environment
which continues to challenge and inspire the researchers of this project.

More information:

Project is funded by the Academy of Finland.

Project leader: Professor of Constitutional Law Tuomas Ojanen

Researchers: Ph.D., LL.M. Miia Halme (Social Sciences), Ph.D. Pamela Slotte (Theology)
LL.M, Paavo Kotiaho (Law) and LL.M. Pekka Niemelä (Law).

Duration: 1.1.2009-31.12.2012

Keywords: human rights, fundamental rights, law, European Union law, international law, religion, subject, anthropology, theology, human rights language, interdisciplinary approach.

Past events:

Project brouchure

Project Kick-off on Thursday 24 April 2009 at 10-16 Porthania (Yliopistonkatu 3), 6th floor, room 674. Read more...

Valtiosääntöpäivä: Konstitutionalismia oikeuden ja politiikan rajoilta on Thursday 5 March 2009 at 12-17.30 in Konsistorinsali, Main Building (Fabianinkatu 33), 2nd floor. Read more...

Valtiosääntöpäivä 2010