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Standing Up for the Voiceless? Exploring the EU’s Capacity for Rights Protection


EUNMUTE Doctoral and Early-Career Scholars Workshop

The EUNMUTE Doctoral and Early-Career Scholars Workshop is a scientific event organized by the Institute for European Studies at UCLouvain Saint-Louis Bruxelles, as part of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence “Un-Muting Europe” (EUNMUTE).

About the EUNMUTE Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence

The Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence “Un-Muting Europe” (EUNMUTE) is an interdisciplinary platform that brings together experts in European Union politics and law. It aims to investigate the EU’s ability to advocate for and/or to promote the rights of the “muted”, which refers to individuals or entities often overlooked, silenced, outnumbered, outpowered, or otherwise marginalized in national political discourses and decision-making processes.

The project addresses fundamental issues relating to the quality of democracy in Europe, focusing more specifically on the protection of marginalized voices. It raises key questions such as:

  • To what extent does the EU currently serve as an alternative political arena for various categories of « voiceless » (e.g., women and sexual minorities, youth, future generations, third-country nationals, non-human living beings)?
  • Does the EU’s proclaimed empowering capacity contribute to the creation of an “unmuting narrative”, adding to the legitimacy of the EU itself?

About the Workshop

Scheduled for June 2024 in Brussels, this workshop invites doctoral researchers and early-career scholars in fields such as law, political science, sociology, political philosophy, or EU studies to contribute to an engaging discussion on the European Union’s role in protecting fundamental rights through the concept of EU’s “un-muting power”. The workshop welcomes papers that explore whether and how the EU has been a driver of un-muting, and how voicelessness has been tackled in a number of policy domains. Beyond the specificity of each case-study, the workshop aims also to explore the very narrative according to which the EU can amplify the voices of marginalized and unheard groups.

The workshop will be structured around five topics that will help shape the event’s overall focus. We invite paper submissions from PhD students and early-career scholars interested in presenting their research on the EU’s un-muting powers and its contribution to rights protection (fundamental rights and anti-discrimination, rights of minority groups, rights of non-human entities, rights of Youth, etc.) within the following areas:

  • Rule of Law
  • Asylum and Migration
  • Non-Discrimination/Inclusivity/Gender
  • Environment and Future Generations
  • Digital transformations and Digital Rights

Selection Criteria

Papers will be selected by the workshop’s scientific committee based on their relevance and quality.

Following the workshop, a collective publication (special issue of a peer-reviewed journal or edited volume) that would include the best papers will be considered. Therefore, priority will be given to applicants submitting original papers that have not yet been published or submitted for publication.


Workshop Details

The workshop, conducted in English, will provide a platform for doctoral students and early-career researchers to present their research and contribute to advancing cutting-edge research on the dynamic interplay between the EU and the protection of rights, to engage in meaningful discussions, and to receive valuable feedback from experts in the field. In addition to paper presentations, the workshop will include keynote addresses and panel discussions.

Depending on the number of papers selected, the workshop will be held over one or two days.

Financial support to cover travel and accommodation of selected researchers may be available. Please specify in your application if you are also applying for this funding.


Key Dates

  • 22 December 2023: Deadline for the submission of abstracts (max 300 words) and CVs, to be sent to Prof. Cecilia Rizcallah ( and Prof. Denis Duez (
  • 30 January 2024: Notification of acceptance
  • 30 May 2024: Submission of final papers
  • 10 – 11 June 2024: Workshop in Brussels, at the Institute for European Studies of UCLouvain Saint-Louis Bruxelles

For inquiries, please contact Prof. Cecilia Rizcallah ( or Prof. Denis Duez (

This event is organized with the support of the Erasmus+ program of the European Union (101047658 – EUNMUTE – ERASMUS-JMO-2021-HEI-TCH-RSCH).



10 - 11 Jun 2024 Brussels, Belgium
Call for Papers open until 22 Dec 2023