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.
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:
- Define and critically analyse keywords and contemporary debates shared across the disciplines of law, critical legal theory, and philosophy.
- Compare, contrast and reflect on contemporary scholarship in and critical approaches to constitutions, citizenship, globalization, democracy and political sovereignty.
- 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.
Indicative AssessmentCritical analysis of selected text, 650 words 10% LO 1
Short essay, 1250 words 25% LO 2
Long essay, 2500 words 55% LO 1,2,3
Tutorial Presentation, 5 mins (equivalent to approx 600 words) 5% LO 1
Tutorial Participation 5% LO 1, 2, 3
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 35 hours of contact (over 12 weeks): 24 hours of lectures and 11 hours of tutorials.
b) 95 hours of independent student research, reading and writing
Requisite and Incompatibility
All relevant readings will be posted in WATTLE.
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- 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.