• Class Number 9542
  • Term Code 3070
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Ntina TZOUVALA
    • Dr Ntina TZOUVALA
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 31/08/2020
  • Class End Date 23/10/2020
  • Census Date 02/10/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/08/2020
SELT Survey Results

Gender issues, particularly in relation to women’s status and rights, occupy a prominent place in debates about aid and development. Law is often perceived to play a crucial role in shaping men’s and women’s social, economic and political opportunities, but also in the ways we conceive of gender in the first place (including the binary construction ‘men/women’).

This course explores the relationship between gender, law and development in historical and comparative perspective. It introduces a range of conceptual frameworks, which are explored through an examination of prominent aid and development issues, such as: 

  • Rights to land; natural resources;
  • Climate change;
  • Employment and labour;
  • Food production, distribution and consumption.

These thematic areas provide an opportunity for students to critically examine the presumed and actual relationship between international and domestic legal frameworks and gender inequality, as well as consider debates about the role and recognition of customary laws and institutions. Particular attention will be paid to the insights of postcolonial feminists and critical race theorists and the work of women of colour. The course will also centre questions of conflict and ideological diversity when it comes to gender, law and development and encourage the students to think critically about these three concepts and their intersection.

This unit draws on the extensive scholarly and applied expertise in gender and development at the ANU and is designed to encourage student engagement and participation. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate a broad understanding of conceptual and theoretical debates regarding the relationship between law, gender and development.
  2. Investigate, consider and explain debates about law and gender relations in the histories and social landscapes of particular countries;
  3. Identify the conceptual underpinnings of a development project or policy and consider the likely gender impacts of it;
  4. Critically reflect on their own experiences of gender and development and the conceptual underpinnings of their own assumptions, approaches and methods; and
  5. Plan and execute a complex legal research project and produce original scholarship on gender relations, law and development.

Research-Led Teaching

Dr Tzouvala has researched and published extensively on matters related to international law and political economy, feminist legal theory, and the history of international law. She is also currently a Senior Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. This course intersects with her interests in the ways law shapes North-South relations and her emphasis on the social justice implications of legal reform.

Required Resources

This course is highly interactive. Lectures and group activities will be focused on discussion of the prescribed readings and the views they represent. Readings have been chosen with a view to covering competing perspectives of the issues being discussed. Both the pre-recorded lectures and the class exercises are designed based on the assumption that students have read the core readings before the class. All prescribed materials will be available via an e-brick and/or uploaded to the Wattle site.

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

Task submission times refer to Canberra time (AEST/AEDT).

Extensions, late submission and penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/extensions-late-submission-and-penalties

Deferred examination: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/deferred-examinations

Special consideration: http://www.anu.edu.au/students/program-administration/assessments-exams/special-assessment-consideration

Word length and excess word penalties: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/word-length-and-excess-word-penalties

Further information about the course: is available from the course WATTLE page. Students are required to access the WATTLE site regularly throughout the course for any announcements relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Law and Development: History and Core Concepts
2 Law and Gender
3 Where is the ‘law’ in Gender, Law and Development
4 International Institutions, Gender and Development
5 Gay Liberation or Global Homocapitalism?
6 Gender, Law and Development on a Warming Planet
7 Gender, Property Rights, and Access to Resources
8 Gender, Food and Development
9 Gender and Labour

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Class Presentation 15 % * 21/09/2020 1,2,4
Book Review 25 % 28/09/2020 12/10/2020 1,23,
Research Essay 60 % 23/10/2020 09/11/2020 1,2,5

* 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.


For all courses taught in intensive mode, the ANU College of Law considers participation in the classes offered to be an important part of the educational experience of the graduate program and students are required to attend ALL classes (and all of each class).

In exceptional circumstances, a student may be granted permission by the Course Convenor, in consultation with the Stream Convenor or Director, LLM Program, to miss some classes, provided:

a) it does not exceed a maximum of 25% of the classes;

b) permission is requested in advance; and

c) the request is supported, where appropriate, by adequate documentation.

Failure to comply with this policy may result in a student receiving the grade of NCN (non-complete fail). The normal pressures of work or planned personal trips do not constitute exceptional circumstances to justify an exemption from full compliance of this policy.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Return of Assessment: 21/09/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Class Presentation

Format: One of the core activities in this class will be to read together some of the most influential books on development and to discuss what they do and do not tell us about gender, law and development. The class presentation on each book will be collective (groups of 3-5, depending on the final registration numbers for the course).

The class presentation should last for 30-40 minutes and you are free to decide on the precise format. It can be a ‘conventional’ presentation accompanied by slides etc/ a mock ‘interview’/ a book panel supposedly taking place in a conference and so on. The presentation will be followed by a brief class discussion of no more than 20 minutes.

The five books we will be focusing on are the following:

  1. William Easterly, The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor (Basic Books, 2015).
  2. Arturo Escobar, Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World (Princeton University Press, 1995).
  3. Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (Verso, 2018).
  4. Amartya K. Sen, Development as Freedom ( Anchor Books, 2000).
  5. Walt W. Rostow, The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto (Cambridge University Press, 3rd edn, 1991).

Due: The presentations will take place during the third week of the course (14-18 September). The specific days will be agreed upon with the students during our first in-person session. Due to the nature of the task, extensions are not possible.

Assessment criteria: Your presentation will be assessed taking into account the following criteria -

  • Ability to work as a team and to deliver a coherent presentation, which also affords each member of the team the opportunity to participate on an equitable basis;
  • Choice of format that is appropriate, accessible, and engaging;
  • Clarity of your main thesis and of any secondary arguments;
  • Comprehension of the main argument/ methodology/strengths and weaknesses/broader relevance of the reviewed book.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 28/09/2020
Return of Assessment: 12/10/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,23,

Book Review

Format: You will write and submit individually a book review of the book you chose as your preferred one for Task 1. The assigned books are classics in the field of development, but they did not explicitly or consciously centre questions of gender. Some only deal peripherally with law. For the purposes of this review, you will imagine that you are writing this book review for a law journal that specialises on questions of law and gender (broadly conceived). Therefore, you are invited to review around the assumption that we need to take gender and law seriously in our discussions about development. Some possible angles could be the following:

  1. Does the author consider the implications of their argument for women/gender non-conforming individuals/LGBT+ people? If not, how does this effect the overall persuasiveness of their proposition?
  2. What are the implicit or explicit assumptions of the author about gendered relations and economic development? Do you find them normatively appealing/plausible/historically and culturally accurate?
  3. How does the author ‘sex’ different agents of development? Does he(all the books in the list were authored by men) imagine the state/international organisation/local populations/development NGOs as masculine/feminine?
  4. What would it mean to read the selected book from an explicitly feminist/queer legal point of view?

Length: 1,800 words

Due: 5pm on Monday 28th of September 2020. Late submission is permitted, but a mark penalty will be imposed.

Assessment criteria: Your book review will be assessed taking into account the following criteria -

  • Comprehension of the main argument/ methodology/strengths and weaknesses/broader relevance of the reviewed book;
  • Originality and creativity: your review puts forward a distinctive and original point of view;
  • Clarity and structure: you express your ideas in a clear and concise manner and the structure of the review facilitates the smooth development of your argument;
  • Style/presentation/referencing.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 23/10/2020
Return of Assessment: 09/11/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,5

Research Essay

Format: The research paper addresses a research topic related to the course and approved by the Course Instructor. Students may choose to pursue a topic of their choice, after consultation with the course instructors.

Note: topic proposals must be submitted to the Course Convenor by the 20th of September.

Length: 4,000 words

Due: 5pm on Friday the 23rd of October 2020. Late submission is permitted, but a mark penalty will be imposed.

Assessment criteria: The criteria for assessment include:

(a) Understanding of the field: the choice of the research topic or question, having regard to difficulty, originality and relevance to the course/ evidence of literature review to identify points of debate or contention among authors in the field;

(b) Communication and development of argument: the quality and coherence of the arguments made/the degree of complexity and insight demonstrated in dealing with the issues related to the research topic/ extent to which competing arguments are considered and addressed;

(c) Research: the breadth and/or depth of research, and the choice of materials and sources/ use of a range of resources, including primary and secondary materials and theoretical literature/ critical analysis of material, rather than simply summarising or extensively quoting material/ good organisation of sources and ability to synthesise all the research materials used, both in relation to the literature review and case studies or examples.

(d) Presentation, style and referencing: the clarity of the structure and the organisation of the paper/appropriate referencing that acknowledging the work of others and its impact on the arguments of the student.

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.

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.

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).


Research Interests

Dr Ntina Tzouvala joined the ANU College of Law as a Senior Lecturer in July 2020. Prior to this, she was an ARC Laureate Postdoctoral Fellow at Melbourne Law School working on civil wars, intervention and international law. Her work focuses on the political economy of international law, feminist legal theory, and on the intersections between international law, race and capitalism. In 2020, she was appointed Senior Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.


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