Jean Monnet Circle Seminar

The Jean Monnet Circle Seminar „European Integration and Institutional Studies“ was established in 2008 within the framework of the Jean Monnet Program of the European Commission. The Ring Seminar is aimed equally at German and international students of all disciplines who wish to broaden their European competence. The seminar program addresses topics such as the socio-historical background of the EU, political, economic and legislative aspects of the unification process, legal issues of European integration and examines European institutions. It offers a look at identity and diversity within the EU, but also sheds light on the role of the EU in the world or the view of the EU from outside. These topics are presented by distinguished experts from various institutions.

The next Jean Monnet Circle Seminar will take place in the winter term 23/24. Fridays, 2pm - 5.15 pm, from 3rd November to 15th December in a hybrid setting. Course language will be English.

The following topics will be introduced by experts from different universities and institutes during the Winter Term 2023/24:


Dr. Ingo Bott


Law within the European Union; Human Rights


  • Judicial organs in the European Union
  • Normative groundwork of the European Union
  • Human Rights and European Integration


Abstract ⊻
Prof. h.c. Dr. Ingo Bott (UTP del Perú)
Lawyer and partner at “Plan A – Kanzlei für Strafrecht” Honrary Professor for criminal law and compliance at Universidad Tecnológica del Perú Expert for Criminal Law for the Council of Europe

Law within the European Union, Human Rights
Our workshop will begin by dealing with the sources of European Union Law. We will learn and discuss how European institutions define the normative groundwork upon which the Union is supposed to grow. Another main topic will be how and why Human Rights apply when talking about the European Union and its institutions.
The lecture is meant to be and will be interactive. Active participation and discussion is highly encouraged. We will follow a very practical approach dealing with real cases and decisions. Exemplary scopes are: freedom of speech; migration; labour mobility; Brexit; Foreign relations; criminal investigation and prosecution beyond national borders.

Literature and links
  • Herdegen, Matthias: Europarecht, 15. Auflage, 2013.
  • Meyer-Ladewig, Jens; Nettesheim, Martin; von Raumer, Stefan: Europäische Menschenrechtskonvention, 4. Auflage, 2017.
  • Oppermann, Thomas; Classen, Claus Dieter; Nettesheim, Martin, Europarecht, 7. Auflage, 2016.
  • D13. Contact: bott does-not-exist.kanzleiplana de

CV ⊻
Dr. Ingo Bott
Lawyer at law firm Plan A – Kanzlei für Strafrecht, Düsseldorf, Germany
Expert for Criminal Law for the Council of Europe

Short biography
Dr. Ingo Bott, lawyer and specialist attorney for criminal law, is founder and partner of Plan A - Kanzlei für Strafrecht. The law firm is based in Düsseldorf, Germany, but acts nationwide and internationally in cases involving white collar crime, compliance and “classic” criminal law. Dr. Ingo Bott held numerous lectures and workshops in Germany and abroad. Among others, he taught European law in Russia, lectured on environmental criminal law in Venezuela and on issues of transparency in criminal proceedings in Mexico. He also represented the Council of Europe in Romania on several occasions as an expert on white collar crime. In addition to his legal work, he writes novels. A new crime series, starting with debut PIRLO – Gegen alle Regeln, published by S. Fischer Verlag, will be released in August.

Contact: bott∂



Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha


Europe meets the others – the others meet Europe 


  • Theories of identity and diversity 
  • Concepts of integration in European societies
  • Cultural pluralism and multiculturalism in Europe 


Abstract ⊻
Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha
Founding Director of ZAK | Centre for Cultural and General Studies
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Europe in diaspora: Europe meets the others – the others meet Europe
In the course of globalization and internationalization, people of different cultures are characteristic for modern European societies. Only meeting with the cultural “other” raises awareness for the own cultural identity, for cultural similarities and differences. Accepting other cultures presumes openness for cultural dialogue on the one hand. On the other hand it implies limits of tolerance towards values and norms of foreign cultures that can be in extreme contradiction with existing values and norms of the receiving country. Due to the multicultural composition of European cities, with migrants now living there in the third and even fourth generation, the very concept of “other” has to be questioned.
Where European cultural dialogue is constrained it is necessary to question the legal framework of living together. The receiving country can make specific integration offers, such as language courses. Cultural dialogue is only possible if the host society is open regarding other cultures and if migrants are willing to accept the major underlying democratic conditions in the receiving country. Integration in following generations is dependent on many factors, particularly on inclusive practices, levels of education and attitudes of the first generation towards their new home.
Regarding the development of European societies this seminar focuses on:
  • Theories of identity and diversity
  • Concepts of integration in European societies
  • Cultural pluralism and multiculturalism in Europe
The seminar aims to challenge the sociopolitical discourse regarding identity and diversity in Europe.

  • Barrett, Martyn (2013): Interculturalism and Multiculturalism: Similarities and
    Differences. Council of Euope Publishing.
  • Höllinger, Franz / Hadler, Markus (Hg.) (2012): Crossing Borders, Shifting
    Boundaries. National and Transnational Indentities in Europe and Beyond. Campus.
  • Kusenbach, Margarethe / Paulsen, Krista E. (eds.) (2013): Home. International
    Perspectives on Culture, Identity and Belonging. PL Academic Research.
  • Robertson-von Trotha, Caroline Y. (ed.) (2011); Europe: Insights from the Outside (=
    Interdisciplinary Studies on Culture and Society, Volume 5).
  • Robertson-von Trotha, Caroline Y. (Hg.) (2019): Diaspora. Netzwerke globaler
    Gemeinschaften (=WIKA Report, Band 3).
  • Robertson-von Trotha, Caroline Y. (ed.) (2022): Realities, Challenges, Visions?
    Towards a New Foreign Cultural and Educational Policy (=WIKA Report, Volume 4).
  • Schoefthaler, Traugott (2007): Adventures in Diversity. New Avenues for Dialogue
    between Cultures. German Commission for UNESCO.

CV ⊻
Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha
Founding Director of ZAK | Centre for Cultural and General Studies
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Short biography
Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha, born in 1951, is Founding Director of the ZAK | Centre for Cultural and General Studies at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany, and Professor of Sociology and Cultural Studies. Her research interests include cultural change and globalisation, internationalisation and integration, foreign cultural and educational policy, and the theory and practice of public science. She is coordinator of the German network of the Anna Lindh Foundation (ALF), chairwoman of the Academic Council on Culture and Foreign Policy (WIKA) at ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen), and member of its advisory board. She is also a member of the advisory council of the Institute for Cultural Policy of the Association of Cultural Policy (Bonn) and spokeswoman of the scientific committee (Kleiner Konvent) of the Schader Foundation (Darmstadt). She was member of the Culture Committee of the German UNESCO Commission. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha is the editor of numerous academic books and publication series. She is initiator and scientific convenor of a variety of teaching formats and public science events.

Contact: caroline.robertson∂



Dr. Dr. Jesús Munoz Morcillo


Europe and the Stars – Images, Narratives, and the Embodiment of a Cultural Vision


  • Critical awareness-raising of Europe’s cultural identity
  • Literary and visual traditions that shape the idea of Europe
  • Continuities and transformations of European Symbols


Abstract ⊻
Dr. Dr. Jesús Muñoz Morcillo
Research Associate and Lecturer at the Art History Department (IKB)
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Europe and the Stars – Images, Narratives and the Embodiment of a European

The idea of Europe as a cultural entity is the result of manifold literary and visual traditions that suggest a civilizing movement from Orient to Occident, from the sunrise to the sunset, from the origin of things to the claim of perfection. An etiological myth about an abducted Asian Princess gave Europe its name, the exile of the Trojan warrior Aeneas that founded Rome gave Europe its political identity, and an Asian prophet called Jesus gave Europe its religion. Consider the European flag: A crown of twelve stars against a sunset-blue sky evokes a rich symbolism that connects Greek and Christian traditions – from Ariadne’s wedding crown (constellation Corona Borealis) to the star crown of the Immaculate. In this seminar, we will focus on canonical – and often ambiguous – narratives and pieces of art that still shape our awareness of Europe in cultural and political terms. We will discuss how strong these visual and literary traditions are, which artifacts and symbols embody them, and to what extent they have changed their meaning since the birth of the European project.

  • Figes, Orlando (2019): The Europeans. Three Lives and the Making of a Cosmopolitan Culture. New York: Metropolitan Books.
  • Fornäs, Johan (2012): Signifying Europe. Bristol/Chicago: Intellect.
  • Friedmann, Rebecca/Thiel, Markus (ed.) (2016): European Identity and Culture. Narratives of Transnational Belonging. London/New York: Routledge.
  • Padgen, Anthony (ed.) (2002): The Idea of Europe. From Antiquity to the European Union. Cambridge University Press.
  • Steiner, George (2012 [2004]): The Idea of Europe. An Essay. New York/London: Nexus Institute.
  • Wilson, Kevin / von der Dussen, Jan (1995 [1993]): The History of the idea of Europe. London/New York: The Open University/Routledge.

CV ⊻
Dr. Dr. Jesús Munoz-Morcillo
Researcher and Lecturer at the Art History Department (IKB) and the ZAK | Centre for
Cultural and General Studies
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Short biography
Jesús Muñoz Morcillo is a classical philologist, art historian, researcher and lecturer at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). He studied in Salamanca, Würzburg and Karlsruhe and, thanks to a grant from the Volkswagen Foundation, he was a fellow at the Getty Research Institute (GRI) in Los Angeles (September 2019 to June 2020). From March 2019 until his posting to the USA, he was acting spokesman for the ZAK | Center for Cultural and General Studies at KIT. His most recent publications include the edited volume "Genealogy of Popular Science. From Ancient Ecphrasis to Virtual Reality" (2020, transcript, ed. With Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha) and the monograph "La ékfrasis griega, de la Antigüedad a Bizancio" (Peter Lang, in press). His research currently focuses on the reception of ancient descriptions and their influence on early modern visual cultures in art, literature, and science.

Contact: jesus.munozmorcillo∂

24.11.2023 Information will follow soon
1.12.2023 Information will follow soon



Julian Plottka


European Elections 2024 


  • How do European elections work?
  • What is at stake when citizens’ cast their ballot?
  • Will the 2024 European elections trigger EU reforms?


Abstract ⊻
Julian Plottka

Researcher Associate at the Jean Monnet Chair for European Politics at the University of Passau and Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.

In June 2024, the citizens of the European Union directly elect the Members of the European Parliament. Since the first European elections in 1979, the elections suffer from a low turnout. They are considered secondary to national elections, because in European elections, there is less at stake.

The course will analyse how the European elections and the following process of electing a new European Commission work. Are the European elections are still secondary? Or will EU citizens decide about the composition of the next European Commission, as the concept of the Spitzenkandidaten procedure suggests? What are the topics most likely discussed in the electoral campaigns? Will the new Commission turn these campaign promises into policies? What are the deficiencies of the current system of European elections? Is there a debate on reforming the EU institutions to make them more democratic?

Recommended readings
  • Kaeding, Michael/Müller, Manuel/Schmälter, Julia /Hrsg.): Die Europawahl 2019. Ringen um die Zukunft Europas, Springer: Wiesbaden 2020,

  • Plottka, Julian/Müller, Manuel: Enhancing the EU’s Democratic Legitimacy. Short and Long-Term Avenues to Reinforce Parliamentary and Participative Democracy at the EU Level, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung: Democracy and Human Rights, Brussels 2020, “

CV ⊻
Julian Plottka

Scientist at the Jean Monnet Chair for European Politics at the University of Passau


Short biography

Julian Plottka is a Research Associate at the University of Passau and at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. Before joining the universities, he was a Senior Researcher at the Institut für Europäische Politik, Berlin. He has studied political science at the University of Potsdam, Universitet i Bergen and the Free University Berlin. His research covers reforms of the EU political system, its legitimacy, including the European Citizens’ Initiative, and Eu foreign policy with a special focus on the EU’s relations with Central Asia. Mr. Plottka has managed a number of research projects, including the “Study on Strengthening the Democratic Legitimacy of the EU”, the “Study on the European Added Value of the European Citizens‘ Initiative” and the project “The Relaunch of Europe. Mapping Member State Reform Interests”. He is part of the Jean Monnet Network “The EU and the EEU: Between Conflict and Competition, Convergence and Cooperation”.

For his publications, contact details and more information see here:   

Contact: julian.plottka∂

15.12.2023 Information will follow soon

More detailed information about the sessions and registration will be published here in September 23.


Formal Requirements, ECTS and Academic Performance
  • Participation in all lectures of the Circle Seminar is obligatory.
  • Credits can be received through a paper which deepens the topic of one lecture (in agreement with the respective lecturer).
  • 2 ECTS credits can be acquired through active participation and preparation of the seminar.
  • 3 ECTS credits can be acquired through a scientific paper (of 4 to 5 pages or 12.000 to 15.000 characters) elaborating on the assigned topic within 4 weeks after the respective lecture date.
  • 4 ECTS credits can be acquired through a scientific paper (of 8 to 10 pages or 24.000 to 30.000 characters) elaborating on the assigned topic within 6 weeks after the respective lecture date.
  • 5 ECTS credits can be acquired through a scientific paper (of 10 to 15 pages or 30.000 to 45.000 characters) elaborating on the assigned topic within 6 weeks after the respective lecture date.
  • 6 ECTS credits can be acquired through a scientific paper (of 15 to 20 pages or 45.000 to 60.000 characters) elaborating on the assigned topic within 6 weeks after the respective lecture

All abstracts and further information in the Jean Monnet Guidebook