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Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Department of Ethics, Law and Politics
Professor Dr Ayelet Shachar

The Department of Ethics, Law and Politics was established in July 2015. The thematic focus is the study of citizenship, migration and diversity from the joint perspectives of law and political theory. The research agenda is informed by the search for answers to cutting-edge theoretical, ethical and legal puzzles; comparative approaches, inter-disciplinary inquiry and international collaboration are strongly encouraged.

Research Questions

Questions of membership, identity, borders and mobility are as significant as they have ever been.  From the travel ban issued in the United States to the regulation of religious women’s bodies and the attire they wear, fierce controversies over the boundaries of membership — ’who belongs’ and according to what criteria — have come to the forefront of public debates. Many of these controversies will, sooner rather than later, reach the steps and grand halls of national and supranational courts of justice. Which principles and procedures should be followed when the values of diversity and equality come to a head in concrete legal cases? What are limits of toleration? Whose voices ought to be heard when a political community reshapes its admission and expulsion policies? What are the historical and ethical underpinnings of today’s international refugee protection regime? What is, or ought to be, the role of hospitality in shaping responses to the claims of undocumented immigrants, especially during times of restrictive policies, suspicion and resurgent populism? What insights can be drawn from economic theories of law in rethinking the balance of power between the state and the individual in allocating the right and freedom to move across borders? Should legal institutions recognize place-specific claims for membership? Why and how are prosperous states ‘reinventing’ the border by turning it into a shifting construct that is no longer moored to a fixed territorial marker? What are the implications of such spatial and conceptual reinventions on human rights and the procedural protections afforded to non-citizens seeking to get in? These are some of the queries that motivate and inform the scholarship and research activities conducted at the Department of Ethics, Law and Politics.

Joining the Institute

For information and application please visit the Insitute’s website: https://www.mmg.mpg.de/elp


Max Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Hermann-Föge-Weg 11
37073 Göttingen
Phone: +49 551 4956-0
Fax: +49 551 4956-170

To enquire about applying for research fellowships:

Office of Professor Shachar
Dagmar Recke
+49 (551) 4956 – 106
+49 (551) 4956 – 107

Department office
Marina Adomeit
+49 (551) 4956 – 108
+49 (551) 4956 – 107