• Class Number 7572
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr James Willoughby
    • Dr James Willoughby
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course offers a rich grounding in moral, social, and political philosophy with a focus on questions concerning social justice. Students will engage in a critical analysis of contemporary theories of social justice. Such theories advance principles for the moral assessment of social institutions in light of how they affect people. These institutions include laws and other social rules governing what kinds of goods can be owned by whom and how they are distributed, how markets and production systems are structured, what prospects various groups have, and, in general, how people pursue the good in their lives. The course will explore questions of institutional design and public policy in the context of real-world social injustices including social and material inequality; racial, gender, and sexuality-based oppression; and climate change. The course will also look at practical questions related to advancing social justice including civil disobedience, and duties to assist victims of injustice and to fight for structural social change.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify issues in social justice;
  2. evaluate ideas and also critical responses to them in the literature related to social justice;
  3. discuss and analyse current issues in ethics and politics relating to social institutions;
  4. better understand the argumentative structures underlying many of the important papers written in the area of social justice; and,
  5. engage in philosophical discussion and debate, verbalising their interpretations and criticisms of the various ideas discussed throughout the course. 

Required Resources

There are no textbooks for this course. All resources will be provided via Wattle and/or the ANU library.

Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Morality and Justice
2 Utilitarianism as a Theory of Justice Reading response
3 Rawls (part 1) Arguments from the Veil of Ignorance Reading response and 2 comments
4 Rawls (part 2) The principles of Justice Reading response and 2 comments
5 The Veil of Ignorance in Action Reading response, and 2 comments 1500 word research essay, due Friday (25/8), 11:55pm
6 A Liberal Critique Reading response and 2 comments
7 A Feminist Critique Reading response, and 2 comments 
8 A Non-Distributive Critique Reading response, and 2 comments 
9 A Non-Ideal Critique Reading response, and 2 comments 
10 Civil Disobedience and the Pursuit of Justice Reading response and 2 comments
11 Individually Donating Reading response and 2 comments
12 Acting on Climate Change Reading response and 2 comments2500 word essay due, Friday (27/10), 11:55
13 No lecture

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Reading responses and comments 10 % * 1,2,3,4,5
Class Participation 10 % * 1,2,3,4
1500 word essay 35 % 25/08/2023 1,2,3,4
2500 word essay 45 % 27/10/2023

* 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 Integrity 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 Academic Skills 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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Reading responses and comments

Part 1: Every week you will be given discussion questions. You’ll need to post your written reflections on one of these questions by 5pm Tuesday of that week (after the lecture but before tutorials). These posts are not graded, but some will be reviewed to check that a genuine effort has been made. You’ll need to make these posts every week (starting from week 2), although you can miss three without negatively affecting your mark (to account for illness and misadventure).

Part 2: You will need to provide some feedback on two of your peers’ reflections. The comments will be made with reference to marking criteria of the essays. These comments need to be posted by 5pm Tuesday the following week (week 2 comments are due week 3, Tuesday, 5pm). These posts are not graded, but some will be reviewed to check that a genuine effort has been made. You can miss three weeks’ worth of comments without negatively affecting your mark (to account for illness and misadventure). 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

Class Participation

In class, students will discuss that week’s material, read each other’s responses, attempt writing exercises and discussion potential research questions. You will be mark on how you participate in this activities. This is not an attendance mark. Although, without attending your tutorial, you will have less opportunities to participate. There are many ways gain participation marks: make substantive contributions to discussion, help your peers complete the exercises, asking insightful or helpful questions, volunteering to show your attempts at that week’s exercises. You can also loose participation marks but being disruptive (e.g. talking over people) or by not engaging with that week’s tasks. 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 25/08/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4

1500 word essay

You will have to submit 1500 word long piece of writing.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 27/10/2023
Learning Outcomes: 

2500 word essay

You will have to submit 2500 word long piece of writing.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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

Hard copy submission is allowed only if 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

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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned via Turnitin

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 James Willoughby

Research Interests

Dr James Willoughby

By Appointment
Dr James Willoughby

Research Interests

Dr James Willoughby

By Appointment

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