• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject English
  • Areas of interest Law, Human Rights, Literature
  • Academic career Undergraduate
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course LAWS4286

This course forms part of a new interdisciplinary and cross-College initiative. It introduces students to major research now undertaken that reflects the view that law is neither divorced from nor above the cultural forces and representations all around us. Whether as a lawyer, an activist, a politician, a writer, a diplomat, or a citizen, we face a global world whose enormous challenges will require of us the ability to understand the relationship between legal discourse and other discourses such as art, human rights and literature which responses to these challenges. Human rights offers a legal and moral framework that attempts to address experiences of injustice, suffering, and traumatic loss. To address these effectively we need to draw on a range of vocabularies and discourses, and be able to mediate between them—to compare, contrast and evaluate their meanings and impacts.  In Literature Law and Human Rights, we study the representation, advocacy and critique of human rights in different genres, including their treatment in law and literature, including film and the visual arts.  Each of these forms of storytelling are devised to solicit strong reactions in an audience. Whether in Palestine, Africa, or Alice Springs, law, literature and human rights are different languages for expressing injustice and for demanding redress.  Each are powerful in their own way. A lawyer, an activist, a novelist, and a film-maker are all storytellers with specific means at their disposal, and specific goals in mind. But just what kinds of storytelling are they? How do they differ from one another, and how do they influence one another?  In what ways does literature (in the broadest sense) help organize our understanding of human rights, and mobilize legal responses? And on the other hand, in what ways does law constitute a literature of human rights, and with what consequences?

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Define and critically analyse keywords and concepts shared across the disciplines of law, literature and human rights, including testimony, witness, reconciliation, memory, justice, and recognition
  2. Discuss contemporary scholarship on and critical approaches to human rights and humanitarian intervention from a range of disciplines and fields, including law and literature, memory studies, and gender studies
  3. Use critical methods, approaches and concepts to analyse case studies and materials
  4. Identify the discourses and genres that intersect in constructing the relationship between law, literature, and human rights
  5. Evaluate and compare a complex variety of textual sources—laws, legal decisions, and commissions of inquiry, as well as novels, films, and artworks—and critically analyse and reflect on their strategies, blind spots, problems, and effects
  6. Conduct interdisciplinary research and analysis in law, literature and human rights

Indicative Assessment

Short response essays, 3 x 300 words (5% each, total 15%)  Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 4

Methods essay, 1,200 words (20%) Learning Outcomes 2, 3, 4, 5

Final research essay 2,500 words, (55%) Learning Outcomes 3, 5, 6

Class participation (10%)  Learning Outcomes 1- 6

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Workload

130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 18 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities.

b) 100 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 2000 level courses or obtain permission of the convenor. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ENGL2082 or ENGL6028 or LAWS4286.

Preliminary Reading

JM Coetzee, Disgrace (Penguin, 1999)

Aminatta Forna, The Memory of Love (2010)

Costas Douzinas, The End of Human Rights (Hart, 2000)

Wendy Hesford, Spectacular Rhetorics: Human Rights Visions, Recognitions, Feminisms (Duke, 2011)

Assumed Knowledge

Knowledge in fields of literature, gender studies, law, human rights

Majors

Minors

Fees

Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 1
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

Units EFTSL
6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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