• Class Number 4281
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Dr Anne Macduff
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/02/2021
  • Class End Date 28/05/2021
  • Census Date 31/03/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 01/03/2021
SELT Survey Results

The aim of this course is to engender critical thought about law.  In particular, the course introduces students to feminist theories about law.  A range of topics will be discussed using a diverse range of feminist and critical materials.  Topics will include feminism within the academy, the concept of equality and violence against women as well as other topics.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Describe, discuss, explain, analyse and critique a selection of key feminist and other critical theories
  2. Explain, appraise and evaluate feminist and critical strategies and methods
  3. Apply feminist and other critical theories to analyse law or legal issues, and generate new perspectives
  4. Design, plan and execute a substantial piece of written scholarship, with some independence
  5. Engage in communication and debate with peers and staff in ways which respect social and cultural diversity

Research-Led Teaching

Drawing upon a range of critical theories, including feminist, postcolonial and queer theories, my research explores how law devalues difference. I have a particular interest in exploring issues of law and identity, including race, gender and sexuality. My PhD thesis challenges the claim that Australian citizenship law is neutral and inclusive, and argues that the current laws construct a particular racialized and gendered citizen subject. I have recently co-edited a book on postfeminism and legal theory. Gozdecka and Macduff eds. Feminism, Postfeminism and the Legal Theory: Beyond the Gendered Subject? (2017, Routledge).

Required Resources

A list of readings for each topic will be provided on the course wattle site. Students can access journal articles online through the ANU library databases.

Margaret Davies, 'Asking the Law Question' (2017, 4th ed, Thomson & Reuters)

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

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

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

Distribution of Grades Policy: Effective from Winter Session and Second Semester 2018 (and until further notice), the current Grading Distribution Policy has been suspended pending the development of a new policy. For further information about the interim policy please see: https://law.anu.edu.au/current-students/policies-procedures/grading

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 details on weekly classes and any announcements and updates relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Monday 22/2 Topic 1: Introduction: Feminisms and the law Tuesday 23/2 Topic 2: Feminist and Critical Basics Wednesday 24/2 Topic 3: Feminist and Critical Epistemology Seminars (not recorded): Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays 9-11am Planning meeting Monday (only) 10.00-11
2 Monday 1/ 3 Topic 4: Public and Private in the Liberal State Tuesday 2/3 Topic 5: Gender 'Inequality' Wednesday 3/3: Topic 6: Engaging with the State Seminars (not recorded): Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays 9-11am
3 Monday 8/3 Topic 7: The category 'woman' Tuesday 9/3 Topic 8: Identity categories and Intersectionality Wednesday 10/3 Topic 9: Gender: Biology, Social construction or 'Performance'? Seminars (not recorded): Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays 9-11am
4 Monday 15/3 Topic 10: Colonialism and Indigeneity Tuesday 16/3 Topic 11: Masculinities Wednesday 17/3 Topic 12: The Method Question Seminars (not recorded): Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays 9-11am
5 Monday 22/3 Topic 13: Gender and Judging TBC Tuesday 23/3 Topic 14: Sex Discrimination TBC Wednesday 24/3 Topic 15: Regulating Women's Bodies TBC Seminars (not recorded): Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays 9-11am. There may be some guest presentations during this week. There will be no group presentations)
6 Monday 29/3 Topic 16: Where to From here? Tuesday 30/ 3 Research workshop Wednesday 31/3 Essay workshop (no group presentations)

Tutorial Registration

There are no tutorials for this course.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Creative Response to a Reading 15 % * 17/04/2021 1, 2, 5
Group Creative Response to a Topic 15 % * 24/03/2021 1, 2, 3, 5
Research Paper and Presentation 65 % 19/04/2021 21/05/2021 1, 2, 3, 4
Participation in an Online Event 5 % 27/04/2021 21/05/2021 1, 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.


This is a semi- intensive, online course. There are roughly 6 hours of class in each of the 6 weeks, as well as a considerable amount of reading and thinking to do before each class. You are expected to participate in this course through a combination of reading, listening, and submitting your creative responses, and well as attending and participating in the online seminars. You will have opportunities to interact and collaborate with others through your participation in the group creative presentations, in discussions during the online seminars, and during the online event.


There are no examinations in this course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Return of Assessment: 17/04/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 5

Creative Response to a Reading

Details of Task: Engaging with the ideas in the reading and lectures is an essential part of this theory course. To assist you to stay engaged and up to date with the ideas in the course, and to hone your visual literacy and creativity skills, you will be asked to produce 7 short creative responses that engage with each of the 7 topics numbered 4-10 (inclusive) in the course. Your response must include a visual component and a short 100 (min) - 250 (max) word text that explains how the image relates to the ideas in the reading that you selected. Your written expression is not being explicitly assessed, so please do not spend too long crafting this text. The text ought to explain why you chose the image and how it links to the ideas in the reading. This response (image and text) will be visible to all the other students in the course. Where all 7 responses submitted satisfy the assessment criteria below, students will receive full marks for this task.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to submit any responses will result in a 0 for this task.

Weighting: 15%

Release: The readings are identified in the course wattle site from the start of the course, and submissions may be made at any time up until 12 noon of the day before the topic is scheduled to be discussed (see class and topic schedule above). While not required, it is recommended that where possible, you should submit your response after you have listened to the recorded lecture on that topic. This is because the recorded lecture will explain and contextualise the readings, and may help you to develop and deepen the ideas that you draw on for each of your creative responses.

Length: Each submission includes one image (photo/ drawing) and 100 - 250 words (max) explanation.

Due date: Ongoing. The response must be posted on the relevant discussion board by 2 pm of the day before the topic is scheduled (see schedule of topics). Due to the nature of the assessment, late submissions without an extension will not be accepted. if you have a reason to that would justify an extension, then you may be permitted to post to a later topic. Please contact the course convener if this occurs. (If you enrol in the course late, please- contact me to organise how you will make up any missed topics).

Estimated Return Date: 17 April via Wattle grade book.

Assessment Criteria: The task will be assessed on the extent to which it achieves the following:

  1. Each image and text engages with at least one idea relevant to one of the readings in a topic
  2. Each image and text captures how the author understands that idea and/or its implications
  3. Each post appropriately references the source of the image if the image is not created by the student
  4. Each post was submitted in a timely way
  5. There were 7 posts which satisfied the criteria 1-4 above.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Return of Assessment: 24/03/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 5

Group Creative Response to a Topic

Details of Task: Being creative can be easier when working in a group, where you have the opportunity to share ideas, become aware of diverse perspectives, and build on the contributions of others. You will further deepen your creative engagement with the ideas in one of the topics by creating a group presentation in small groups of 5 - 7 students (depending on the number of enrolments). This group presentation will involve considerable work in the day leading up to the presentation, so make sure that you choose a day that you are available for the entire afternoon before it is due. Groups will meet online with me at around 2 pm on the day before the presentation is due, to discuss the topic, the readings, the format of the group presentation and the group division of roles. The group will plan and devise a creative response to bring the ideas in the reading together in an engaging way to present to the class. The group response should be on the reading, and the themes and issues raised by the topic generally, and include an exploration of the questions and consequences of the topic. The group response should be in the form of a presentation of approximately 15 mins (although no longer than 20 mins). The presentation can be recorded, live, or a mix of both. The presentation will be shown to the class at 9.00 am in the scheduled seminar time (the next day), followed by a whole-class discussion. (The presentations and the discussion will be recorded, but only for assessment purposes. They will not be available for the class to view later unless there are exceptional reasons which excuse a student from attending.) Your group will also need to provide a written bibliography, with a complete list of resources used/ referred to, including any visual or other materials used. After the seminar has finished, there will be a private opportunity for a group debrief with the convener. After the debriefs, each individual will be expected to submit a short self -evaluation in writing (a template will be given to you to complete this task) and you will upload this to a wattle dropbox.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to participate in all activities related to the group creative response will result in 0 marks for this assessment task.

Weighting: 15%

Release: A list of the topics and related readings and questions will be available via the course wattle site from the start of the course. Group enrolments for the presentations will be open via wattle from Monday 22 Feb at 2 pm. Group presentations will be on topics 4- 12 (inclusive).

Due date: The group meeting, the presentation, the debrief and the self-evaluation are to be commenced and completed within a 24 hour window. The group assessment starts around 2 pm the day before the topic is scheduled, with a group meeting with the convener. (While you may read ahead, and prepare your ideas, please DO NOT meet as a group any earlier than 2pm the day before this as it creates inequities between students and unrealistic pressures.) The group presentation will be submitted via Wattle dropbox by 9 pm that same day. All members of the group will also need to attend the seminar on the topic at 9.00 am the next morning, and be available for a group debrief after the seminar. The self assessment will be submitted via the Wattle drop box by 2 pm. Due to the nature of the assessment, late submissions without an extension will not be accepted. If you have grounds that would justify an extension, you will be given another opportunity to present later in the course with a different group, where this is possible.

Estimated Return Date: 23 March via Wattle email.

Assessment Criteria: This is a group assessment and each member of the group will receive the same mark unless there are compelling reasons to depart from this approach. Compelling reasons may emerge from either the group meeting, the presentation, the group debrief, the individual debrief, or the individual written group and self-evaluations. This may result in a lower (or higher) mark for the individual component between members in the same group.

Group presentation (10 marks)

  1. Creativity in approach to the group presentation
  2. Ability to generate audience discussion and engagement
  3. Cohesiveness of the group presentation
  4. Critical engagement with the topic
  5. Insightful engagement with the reading
  6. Ability to explain clearly (selected) aspects of the different readings for that topic
  7. Ability to draw links and connections between the topic, issues and its consequences
  8. The extent to which the presentation articulates interesting perspectives on the topic
  9. Quality of engagement with the Q&A session

Individual contribution to group work (5 marks)

  1. Ability to work constructively in a group (facilitating the contributions of others)
  2. Quality of contributions made to the group in their chosen group role
  3. Preparedness for the group task
  4. Participation in group tasks
  5. Timely completion of individual role and tasks

Assessment Task 3

Value: 65 %
Due Date: 19/04/2021
Return of Assessment: 21/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Research Paper and Presentation

Details of Task: To further develop your thinking on a topic, you will be required to undertake research on a topic of your choice. You will be expected to have chosen your topic in the last topic (29/3). The last two classes will involve workshops, where we will discuss research techniques, essay writing techniques, and brainstorm your research ideas. In the last class, you will be asked to share your research question, the main theoretical approach you will take, and 5 key articles which you will draw upon. There is no penalty for not attending these preparation workshops, and you may still submit your assignment, however, it would be a lost opportunity for early feedback and direction. The presentation element of this task should not just be a reading of your written argument, but be a creative presentation of your ideas that would engage a general audience. You can choose any presentation format, including an image and a short oral presentation, or a video drama/ play. Your experiences in both the wattle posts and the group creative presentation ought to assist you to develop some creative ideas to research further and provides the foundation thinking that should enable you to produce an engaging presentation.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to complete the research paper and presentation will result in a 0.

Release: You can begin your paper and presentation at any time.

Weighting: Research paper (50%) and presentation (15%) = 65%

Length: The research assignment is 2,000 words. The ANU law school excess word penalties will apply. The presentation length is 5 mins.

Due date: Both tasks are due on Monday 19 April at 5 pm. The research assignment should be submitted via Turnitin, and a recording of your presentation should be submitted via Wattle dropbox. Late submission without an extension is permitted. although late penalties will apply.

Estimated Return Date: 21 May 2021.

Assessment Criteria:

Written paper (50 marks)

  1. Quality of written expression
  2. Clarity of explanation of ideas (theory/ substantive law/ policy)
  3. Sophistication and depth of analysis
  4. Degree to which the assignment generates interesting perspectives
  5. Clarity of argument/ position
  6. The persuasiveness of argument/ position
  7. Engagement with key concepts/ readings or theories covered in the course

Presentation (15 marks)

  1. Creativity in approach suited to a presentation
  2. Clarity of expression of key ideas (theoretical and/ or legal)
  3. Degree of analytical insight into key ideas (theoretical and/ or legal)
  4. The extent to which the presentation articulates interesting perspectives on the topic
  5. Clarity of argument/ position
  6. The persuasiveness of argument/ position

Assessment Task 4

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 27/04/2021
Return of Assessment: 21/05/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 5

Participation in an Online Event

Details of Task: It is great to have amazing ideas, but in order to spark cultural change, those ideas need to be shared. This course will showcase the arguments developed in your research papers and presentations. The event will display of all the student presentations through an online 'event'. The format, length, delivery, and focus of the event, as well as the roles each student will have to make the event happen, will be decided by majority vote by the students in attendance in the first seminar of the course (Monday 22 Feb). Regardless of what form the event takes, you will have some options about the ways in which you can contribute to the online event.

Nature of Task: Compulsory and non-redeemable. Failure to complete to participate in the online event (planning, organisation, and delivery) will result in a 0 for this task.

Weighting: 5%

Release: While some preparation may occur earlier than the online event, the curation of the student research presentations can only occur after they have been submitted.

Length: It is expected that you will spend roughly 3 hours in total on activities related to this task. At the very least, everyone will need to upload their research presentation to the course wattle site and attend the event. Depending on what role you have elected to have for this task, you will also need to engage in some other activities in the lead up to the online event itself. The times for the online event will be negotiated with students but will be held on Tuesday 27 April.

Due date: Ongoing. The last date for contributions to this task will be online event held on 27 April. If there you have reasons that would justify an extension which mean that you are unable to complete your tasks by date of the online event, another activity of a similar workload/ nature can be arranged for you.

Estimated Return Date: 21 May 2021.

Assessment Criteria:

  1. Submits presentation for curation in a timely way
  2. Contributes creatively in relation to the online event, as determined by the chosen role
  3. Fulfils the responsibilities of the role in a timely way and with professionalism

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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. Extensions may be granted 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).

Dr Anne Macduff

Research Interests

Gender and the Law, Critical Legal Theory, Family Law, Public Law, Law Reform and Social Justice

Dr Anne Macduff

By Appointment

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