• Offered by School of Philosophy
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Philosophy
  • Areas of interest Law, Philosophy, Human Rights, Arts
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

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:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Define and critically analyse keywords and contemporary debates shared across the disciplines of law, critical legal theory, and philosophy.
  2. Compare, contrast and reflect on contemporary scholarship in and critical approaches to constitutions, citizenship, globalization, democracy and 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.

Indicative Assessment

Critical analysis of selected text, 650 words 10% LO 1
Short essay, 1250 words 25% LO 2
Long essay, 2500 words 55% LO 1,2,3
Tutorial Presentation, 5 mins (equivalent to approx 600 words) 5% LO 1
Tutorial Participation 5% LO 1, 2, 3

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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 35 hours of contact (over 12 weeks): 24 hours of lectures and 11 hours of tutorials.
b) 95 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 6 units of 1000 level Philosophy (PHIL) courses, or with permission of the convenor. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed LAWS4280

Preliminary Reading

All relevant readings will be posted in WATTLE.


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
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $5280
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.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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