- 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
- Academic career UGRD
- Mode of delivery In Person
- Co-taught Course
- Critical Thinking
- Indigenous Perspectives
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.
- The proposed means of assessment for this course will provide students with at least two pieces of assessment, including one piece during the semester. More information about the means of assessment, including the relationship between the assessment and the learning outcomes of the course, will be available in the Class Summary and on the course WATTLE page. (100) [LO null]
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- 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
Requisite and Incompatibility
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.
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.
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
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Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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