• Class Number 4280
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Rosanne Kennedy
    • Desmond Manderson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

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, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

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

Research-Led Teaching

This is a course in critical reading and thinking outside disciplinary boundaries. It builds on, reflects and encourages the distinctive inter-disciplinary research conducted by the course’s designers and convenors, and actively performs the kind of research-led collaboration across disciplinary boundaries to which your teachers are committed. Reflecting the individual research and pedagogic interests of your academic guides, the course is therefore unique, demanding and – we believe – rewarding.

Examination Material or equipment

No Exam.

Required Resources

Readings for this course will be available through Wattle and through the ANU library.

Students will be advised of literary texts that may wish to purchase.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Students will benefit most from this course by regularly attending lectures and tutorials. Failure to attend tutorials will lower the participation mark.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Question of Law and Literature Tutorial: Where the Wild Things Are
2 Human Rights in Law and Literature Tutorial: Chester v Waverley
3 Human Rights – Debates and Critiques Tutorial: Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987)
4 Humanitarian Interventions and the Child in Human Rights Tutorial: The White Knights (Joachim Lafosse, 2016)
5 Trauma, Testimony, Memory: the Aftermath of the Lebanon War 1982 Tutorial: Waltz with Bashir (Ari Fohlman, 2008)
6 Reconciliation in Law and Literature: the South African Paradigm Tutorial: The Blue Dress, The Red Dress, The Black Dress
7 Reading Week (Easter Monday; Anzac Day)
8 Australia, 1997 – The Stolen Generations Tutorial: Bringing Them Home Report; Cubillo v Cth; Kruger v Cth
9 Australia, 2007 – The Northern Territory Intervention Tutorial: Jindabyne (2006)
10 Redacted : Law, Human Rights, and Emergency Tutorial: Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Guantanamo Diary (2017, 2nd edition)
11 Pacific Solution: Refugees, Asylum and Human Rights Tutorial: Richard Flanagan: Does Writing Matter?
12 Research Topics for Discussion

Tutorial Registration

Please register for tutorials on Wattle.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short Response Essay (4 x 500 words; 10% each) 40 % 23/05/2019 03/06/2019 1, 2, 3, 5
Final Essay (2000 words) (45%) 45 % 07/06/2029 01/07/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Tutorial Participation (10%) 10 % 31/05/2019 01/07/2019 1, 2, 3, 5
Leading a tutorial (5%) 5 % 31/05/2019 01/07/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


Students are required to attend the weekly tutorial and will be assessed on participation (10%). Effective participation in this course requires coming to class prepared to engage in tutorial activities such as defining, explaining and applying concepts to a range of texts; having read assigned texts and watched set films and being able to discuss them with others in class, and being able to explain and discuss readings and debates. To participate effectively, you should plan to spend around six hours each week to doing the required reading and watching set films. You should try to read the required readings for the week prior to attending lecture and certainly before the tutorial. In addition, you should seek to read as much as you can of the recommended reading for the week. If you are interested in pursuing additional readings both to deepen your understanding or as part of an assessment project, you should feel free to contact any of your teachers after class or at other mutually agreed upon times. 


No examinations/

Assessment Task 1

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 23/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 03/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5

Short Response Essay (4 x 500 words; 10% each)

Four short responses of 500 words each (10% each) will be due by 4 pm Wed of the week in which the topic will be discussed in tutorial. NO essays will be accepted later than 10am Thursday of the week the question will be discussed; if submitted after 4pm Wed a late penalty will apply. At least TWO short responses MUST be selected from weeks 1-6. Questions will be posted on Wattle two weeks before the due date.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 07/06/2029
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Final Essay (2000 words) (45%)

Final essay questions, with details of the task and rubric, will be posted on Wattle four weeks before the due date. Students will be expected to show thorough knowledge of the topic, drawing on either compulsory or recommended readings, and additional research.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5

Tutorial Participation (10%)

Effective participation means attending weekly tutorials, participating in class activities and actively contributing to class discussing. For further detail on expectations for participating, see below.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 01/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Leading a tutorial (5%)

Students will be prepared to define a key concept and explain how it relates to a text under discussion, either from the compulsory or recommended reading, and explain what it adds to the topic, or will be prepared to address some dimension of the set reading or viewing, or to introduce a debate from the readings. Students will discuss in advance with the tutor (either in person or by email) what concepts/readings they will prepare. Tutorial leaders are required to develop questions for class discussion and send them to the tutor by 4pm Wed the day before the tutorial.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Student work will be returned through Turnitin. Students are advised to access the comments and feedback on their work through Turnitin. If students fail to access feedback regularly through the semester, no feedback will be given on the final essay.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

No resubmission of assignments is permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Rosanne Kennedy

Research Interests

Law, Human Rights and Culture; Gender & Feminist Theory; Cultural Memory; Trauma, testimony and witnessing; contemporary literature and life writing

Dr Rosanne Kennedy

Monday 11:00 12:00
Desmond Manderson

Research Interests

Desmond Manderson

Monday 11:00 12:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions