• Class Number 4276
  • Term Code 3130
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Desmond Manderson
    • Dr Rosanne Kennedy
  • 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

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:

  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. Compare, contrast and reflect on contemporary scholarship on and critical approaches to human rights and humanitarian intervention
  3. Recognise, distinguish and appraise research and methods in the fields of law and literature, memory studies, and theory, with specific reference to major case studies chosen to illustrate, particularize, and interrogate core concepts and historical episodes
  4. Analyse 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 to critically analyse and reflect on their strategies, blind spots, problems, and effects.
  6. Independently problem-solve by evaluating, planning, and executing advanced interdisciplinary scholarship and research

Research-Led Teaching

This unit forms part of an interdisciplinary cross-College initiative. It introduces students to a major new research paradigm that connects law to the cultural forces and representations around us. Whether as a lawyer, an activist, a legislator, a writer, a diplomat, or a citizen, we face global challenges that require of us the ability to understand the relationship between legal and other important cultural discourses. This is not a course in doctrinal law—what law is—but in legal theory and method—how law works. It reflects the interdisciplinary research interests of the two course convenors and represents part of an ongoing collaboration between theorists in law and literature.

Required Resources

Readings are available for download on the WATTLE site for this course.

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 this 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 relating to the course.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture / Seminar: Introduction: The Question of Law and Literature Tutorial: Where the Wild Things Are Sign up for tutorials & for tutorial-leading (see Assessment Task 3)
2 Lecture / Seminar: Human Rights in Law and Literature Tutorial: Chester v Waverley
3 Lecture / Seminar: Human Rights – Debates and Critiques Tutorial: Beloved
4 Case Study: Humanitarian Interventions, 1984 Tutorial: White Knights
5 Case Study: Beirut, 1982 Tutorial: Waltz with Bashir First Short Response essay (Assessment Task 1) due no later than beginning week 5
6 Lecture / Seminar: Reconciliation in Law and Literature: the South African Paradigm Tutorial: The Blue Dress, The REDress
7 Reading week
8 Case Study: Australia, 1997 – The Stolen Generations Tutorial: Cubillo v Cth; Kruger v Cth
9 Case Study: Australia, 2007 – The Intervention Tutorial: Jindabyne
10 Lecture / Seminar: Redacted - Law, Human Rights, and Emergency Tutorial: The Guantanamo Diaries Second Short Response essay (Assessment Task 1) due no later than beginning week 10
11 Lecture / Seminar: Refugees and Asylum Tutorial: Does Writing Matter?
12 Lecture / Seminar: Research topics discussion Tutorial: Conclusions and review

Tutorial Registration

Students should enrol for tutorials via the course Wattle site, from 8 February. It is recommended that you enrol early if you have a time preference as class numbers are strictly limited.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Short response essays 30 % * * 1,2,4
Research essay 60 % 03/06/2021 04/07/2021 1,2,3,4,5,6
Class Participation 10 % 31/05/2021 04/07/2021 1,2,3,4,5,6

* 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.


See Assessment Task 3, above

Assessment Task 1

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4

Short response essays

Details of Task: You will be asked to provide two short (600-word) response essays in response to a specific question relating to the set text for each tutorial or to a prescribed reading for that week’s lecture. Your essays will be due prior to the lecture and tutorial for that week. The questions will focus on the student's ability to articulate, illustrate, and if possible critique specific concepts in the readings, and to relate it to the relevant text.

?Nature of Task: Compulsory. Failure to submit an answer will result in a 0 for that answer.

Weighting: 15% each (for a total of 30%).

Release: The questions will be made available at least one week prior to the week to which the questions relate.  

Due date: Answers must be submitted via Turnitin no later than Monday 9:00 AM of the week to which the questions relate. There are two short responses over the course of the semester. The first short response can be submitted by you in any week up to the beginning of week 5. You must submit your first short response by then. The second short response can be submitted in any week up to the beginning of week 10. You must submit your second short response by then.

Word limit: 600 words per response

Estimated return date: Will be returned no later than three weeks after the due date for submission for that week.

Assessment Criteria:


1.      Evidence of careful reading of the text

2.      Clarity and specificity of the discussion

3.      Ability to analyse the concepts and arguments of the author

4.      Capacity to engage critically with the theory and method of the course, and to relate it to the relevant text

Structure and expression

1.      Logical structure and use of appropriate illustrative examples.

2.      Clarity and coherence.

3.      Avoidance of irrelevant discussion and repetition.

4.      Prose and argument at a high level.


Assessment Task 2

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 03/06/2021
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Research essay

Details of Task: A selection of suggested questions to encourage you to develop your own research skills and pursue your research interests will be provided by the course convenors. You will be expected to undertake some additional research than that undertaken in class. But your essay should also relate your argument and topic to the materials and themes discussed in class and demonstrate familiarity with the major topics, ideas, and readings covered. Essays which do not engage adequately with course content will be marked accordingly.

If you wish to write and answer your own research question, consult with your convenor early in the semester. We strongly advise you to submit a written (100 – 200 word) abstract summarising the question you want to answer and outlining the argument and structure of your essay. This process will allow you to receive early feedback on your work and should help you produce better work. If the Abstract is better than your final essay it will contribute 10% to the final research essay mark for this unit.

Weighting: 60%

Release: By the end of the mid-semester teaching break.

Due date: Essays must be submitted via Turnitin no later than 5:00 PM on Thursday 3 June 2021. Late submissions (without extensions) will be subject to standard penalties at the rate of 5% per working day in accordance with University policy.

Word limit: 3000 words

Estimated return date: After final results released via Turnitin.

Assessment Criteria:


1.      Introduction and justification for the case study and text chosen

2.      Ability to analyse the concepts and arguments of a range of materials and genres.

3.      Ability to identify appropriate, relevant, and interesting topics for research.

4.      Capacity to engage in independent research and to identify, track down, and analyse relevant readings.

5.      Evidence of an overall argument, theme, and approach

6.      Clear connection with course materials and themes

7.      Demonstration of familiarity with the treatment of interdisciplinary materials

8.      Ability to engage with theoretical issues canvassed throughout the course, and the ability to apply these themes and issues to a new topic.

Structure and expression:

1.      Clear and coherent essay structure constructing a sustained argument and approach.

2.      Clear statement of issues, questions, and thesis.

3.      student's of irrelevant discussion and repetition.

4.      Clarity and logic of the essay.

5.      Prose and argument at a high level.

6.      Ability to properly reference and footnote relevant material

7.      Ability to introduce, justify, and organize discussion of an independent research question.

8.      Demonstration of sound academic judgment

9.      Imagination & creativity in the selection of topic and discussion, in particular in responding to the challenge of working in multiple genres and interdisciplinary forms.

10.  Ability to properly reference and footnote all relevant material.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 31/05/2021
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5,6

Class Participation

Details of Task: You will be asked to sign up to help lead (in association with other students) one week’s tutorial discussion during of the semester. You may be asked to discuss in class the readings set down for that tutorial. The class participation mark will be based on your performance at this task, but mark may be improved in light of your participation in tutorials throughout the course.

Nature of Task: Tutorial leading is a compulsory element of this course. Attendance at tutorials is highly recommended and may benefit your final mark for this component.

Weighting: 10%

Estimated return date: After week 12. Feedback will be provided on request via email.

Assessment criteria: You will be assessed on your care in reading and reflecting on the materials, and your ability to respond well and contribute positively to the class dynamic for that week.

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 assessment items 1 and 2 will be marked on line via Turnitin and feedback provided there. Students will be provided oral feedback of their class participation if requested.

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

In general not permitted without special permission.

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).

Desmond Manderson

Research Interests

Law and the humanities, legal theory, law justice and ethics, law and literature, law and visual studies

Desmond Manderson

By Appointment
Dr Rosanne Kennedy
02 6125 5090

Research Interests

Dr Rosanne Kennedy

By Appointment

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