- Code LAWS4309
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by ANU College of Law and the Department of Political and Social Change
- ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific / ANU College of Law
- Course subject Laws
- Areas of interest Australian Studies, History, Law, Asia Pacific Studies, Politics
The rule of law is a specific historical development of global significance, and one that is inextricable from colonial histories and postcolonial conditions. Proponents
throughout the world, including Australia and the Asia-Pacific, point to it as a solution to an array of problems. Critics for their part lambast it as neocolonial and
exploitative. In this course, we cover the ground between these poles by turning to the rule of law in its particulars, through study of its relationship to colonialism and postcolonialism in Asia, Australia and beyond. By bringing together extractive colonial and settler colonial cases we aim to identify similarities and differences in the experience
of colonialism and the rule of law, and query both the idea of the rule of law as preeminent political ideal for our time as well as contrariwise positions that treat it as
nothing other than a fig leaf for colonial domination and oppression. Importantly, we will also look at the continuing legacy of colonial legal and political histories, and the
relationship of the rule of law to political and social crises in our time.
By taking an historical and cultural approach to the rule of law, we will expand and deepen our understanding of these regions' pasts and present day conditions, as well as
adopt an empirically informed perspective on how and why the rule of law is so pervasive. Students will gain new insights into legal history and colonial power in a wide
variety of places, including but not limited to Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Singapore, as well as through regional organisations. They will also consider in detail
how the interaction between colonialism and the rule of law in Australia is at once distinct from and similar to that of the country’s regional neighbours.
This course is jointly taught in the College of Asia and the Pacific and the ANU College of Law. The Department of Political and Social Change is offering the course for
students enrolled in the Bachelor of Asian Studies and Master of Asia Pacific Studies, and in the ANU Law School for students enrolled in LLB and JD programs. The
course will also be open to students in the Bachelor of Arts, and we expect interest from students doing the sociology, politics, development studies and human rights
majors in particular. The course is deliberately interdisciplinary in its contents, modes of instruction and methods. It draws on a rich comparative socio-legal,
anthropological, sociological and political scientific literature that in recent years has delivered an impressive range of studies on the rule of law in different colonial times
and places, and work that ties the empirical contents of the course to overarching concepts of legality, authority and power.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Synthesise, define and critically analyse keywords and contemporary debates shared across the disciplines of law, history, politics, and culture, focusing on advanced critical approaches to the rule of law, law and development, colonialism, and post-colonialism.
- Compare, contrast and critically evaluate contemporary issues in the rule of law and colonial legacies across Asia and in Australia.
- Recognise, distinguish and appraise research and methods across different fields in law and the social sciences.
- Evaluate and compare a complex variety of textual sources from a range of different disciplines, contexts, and genres.
- Plan and execute independent interdisciplinary research with the support and under the supervision of the course convenors.
Classes may be offered in non-standard sessions and be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (a minimum of 36 hours). Please refer to the LLB timetable for dates. Please contact the ANU College of Law Student Administration Services to request a permission code to enrol in classes offered in non-standard sessions.
- Two short response essays over the term: 600 words each, value 15% each (30) [LO 1,2,4]
- Final research essay: 2,500 words (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
- Group presentation (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
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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Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have 3 contact hours per week (a minimum of 36 hours). Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.
Requisite and Incompatibility
There is no prescribed texts.
A modern, burgeoning, and diverse literature makes up the reading for the course. Indicative foundational readings on the idea and practice of the rule of law include:
Paul Gowder, The Rule of Law in the Real World (2016)
Martin Krygier, The Rule of Law (2016)
Margaret Radin, Reconsidering the Rule of Law (1989)
EP Thompson, Whigs and Hunters (1975)
Indicative readings on the rule of law and settler colonialism include:
Jon Altman & Melinda Hinkson, Coercive Reconciliation (2007)
Eve Darian-Smith, Religion, Race and Rights (2010)
Donald Denoon, Settler Capitalism (1983)
Des Manderson, Kangaroo Courts and the Rule of Law (2012)
Indicative readings on the rule of law and extractive colonialism include:
Nasser Hussain, The Jurisprudence of Emergency (2003)
Elizabeth Kolsky, Colonial Justice in British India (2010)
Randy Kostal, A Jurisprudence of Power (2005)
Keally McBride, Mr Mothercountry (2016)
Indicative readings on the rule of law in the postcolony include:
Nick Cheesman, Opposing the Rule of Law (2015)
Jean & John Comaroff, Law and Disorder in the Postcolony (2006)
Mark Massoud, Law's Fragile State (2013)
Jothie Rajah, Authoritarian Rule of Law (2012)
A full draft syllabus has been completed and has been circulated to staff with whom consultations have been held. It is available on request.
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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.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.