• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Desmond Manderson
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2018
    See Future Offerings

Whether as a philosopher, a lawyer, an activist, a politician, a writer, a diplomat, or a citizen, we face a global world whose enormous challenges require an ability to understand the relationship between law’s own discourse and other forms of thinking about and communicating it. From a legal point of view, the Constitution may refer to a specific document or set of documents.  But legal theorists and philosophers recognize that this institutional form is only the tip of the iceberg.  Law, as an expression of collective belonging, is constituted through images and metaphors that bring its concepts to life. As the famous frontispiece to Thomas Hobbes' classic work Leviathan depicts, ‘the body politic' is not a ready-made entity, but a complex composition from disparate elements. The problem of how legal order is generated and maintained brings it into close relationship with social, political and aesthetic forms. The shape of our collective relationship to a legal and social order is constantly being made, remade, and unmade. 
This course draws on the resources of critical theory, philosophy, aesthetics, and legal scholarship, to interrogate urgent contemporary problems pertaining to the establishment and maintenance of legal order and public identity, examining the terms on which we speak of sovereignty, democracy, rights, citizenship, and State violence.  Our interdisciplinary analysis relates these terms to the wider representational frames they inhabit; explores contemporary sites of constitution and deconstitution, including through art, media, and protest; and introduces students to relevant methods and theories.

Learning Outcomes

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

This course encourages students to develop advanced skills in dealing with interdisciplinary materials, complex theoretical concepts and analytic frameworks. Students will be encouraged to develop oral and written communication, critical and creative thinking, independent critical thought, and to further their understanding of the relationship between law, philosophy, culture, and justice.

By the conclusion of this course, students who have successfully completed all of the requirements will have the knowledge and skills to:
1. Define and critically analyse keywords and contemporary debates shared across the disciplines of law, legal theory, and philosophy, including sovereignty, constitution, legitimacy, democracy, exclusion, & citizenship.
2. Compare, contrast and reflect on contemporary scholarship on and critical approaches to citizenship, globalization, democracy & political sovereignty.
3. Recognise, distinguish and appraise research and methods in the fields of legal theory, contemporary philosophy and political theory, with specific reference to the case studies chosen during the course to illustrate, particularize, and interrogate these fields.
4. Understand the relationship between legal and philosophical frameworks and assumptions in the construction and delimitation of legal order in the modern world.
5. Evaluate and compare a complex variety of textual sources from a range of different disciplines and genres, and critically analyse their strategies, blind spots, problems, and effects.
6. Independently problem-solve by evaluating, planning, and executing advanced interdisciplinary scholarship and research.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment is likely to include class participation and three short pieces of written work which build interdisciplinary, research and theoretical skills over the term, before undertaking a research essay of the appropriate length
1. Three short response essays over the term: 600 words each, value 10% eachRelates to learning outcomes 1, 2, 4
2. Final research essay: 3,500 words, value 60%Relates to learning outcomes 1—6, esp. 3, 5, 6
3. Class participation, 10% relates to 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.


3 hours face to face + 6 hours preparation time per week

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a program which includes the Bachelor of Laws or Juris Doctor and completed or be completing five LAWS1000 or 6100 level courses. Juris Doctor (Online) and have completed LAWS8712 Australian Public Law & International Law B Incompatible with PHIL2289 Leviathan, Art, and Law: Constituting the Body Politic


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:
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.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $3420
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $4860
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
10115 23 Jul 2018 30 Jul 2018 31 Aug 2018 26 Oct 2018 In Person N/A

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