• Offered by ANU Law School
  • ANU College ANU College of Law
  • Course subject Laws
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Desmond Manderson
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

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.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Define and critically analyse keywords and contemporary debates shared across the disciplines of law, legal theory, and philosophy, including sovereignty, constitution, legitimacy, democracy, exclusion, & citizenship.
  2. Compare, contrast and reflect on contemporary scholarship on and critical approaches to citizenship, globalization, democracy & political sovereignty.
  3. 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 to illustrate, particularize, and interrogate these fields.
  4. Understand the relationship between legal and philosophical frameworks and assumptions in the construction and delimitation of legal order in the modern world.
  5. Evaluate and compare a complex variety of textual sources from a range of different disciplines and genres, and critically analyse their strategies, blind spots, problems, and effects.
  6. Independently problem-solve by evaluating, planning, and executing advanced interdisciplinary scholarship and research.

Other Information

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.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Short response essays over the term (30) [LO 1,2,4]
  2. Final research essay (60) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  3. Class participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

The ANU uses 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. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


  • Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 36 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.
  • Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have three contact hours per week. Students are generally expected to devote at least 10 hours overall per week to this course.

Click here for the LLB Program course list

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be studying a: Bachelor of Laws (ALLB) and have completed or be completing five 1000 level LAWS courses; or Juris Doctor (MJD) and have completed or be completing five 1000 or 6100 level LAWS courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed PHIL2289 Leviathan, Art, and Law: Constituting the Body Politic.

Prescribed Texts

Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course. Alternatively, this information will be published in the Program course list when known.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4740
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $5700
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
7063 25 Jul 2022 01 Aug 2022 31 Aug 2022 28 Oct 2022 In Person View

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