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ANTH3030 – Human Rights and Law

2020 – Session 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Convener and lecturer
Jaap Timmer
Contact via 0243568077
Australian Hearing Hub, Level 2, Department of Anthropology
Thursdays (during semester), 1-2pm
Roberto Costa
Payel Ray
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
130cp at 1000 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit on law and human rights brings to life the ways in which the institutions and interactions of human society shape legal formats and frameworks. Approaching both legal systems and rights-based projects as situated human phenomena, students learn about the dominant themes in legal anthropology and justice studies, and also engage in debates about the importance of these studies to the universal human rights framework that has emerged globally over the last seven decades. The unit will discuss the history of law in anthropology, suggesting ways in which we can detach the concept of law itself from Western moorings and take a global perspective on the ways that societies resolve disputes, regulate power and authority, and emulate and articulate elements of 'law' (and 'state'). The unit also focuses particularly on human rights across cultures, asking how contemporary human rights concepts came to be, and exploring the difficulties involved in translating 'universal' rights into new and unfamiliar cultural settings. It seeks to answer the question of how human rights advocacy should best proceed in a world where the universal applicability of a human rights framework cannot be assumed. Moreover, it asks what the expansion of human rights-related legal frameworks can teach us about the anthropology of legal systems in practice more broadly.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO2: Demonstrate an understanding of the changing relationship between anthropology, law and human rights, especially with regard to the concepts of culture and cultural relativism.
  • ULO3: Assess received understandings of law and human rights discourses using anthropologically informed holistic and relativistic descriptions of cultural practices.
  • ULO1: Show familiarity with the anthropology of law and the history and evolution of human rights in legal, philosophical, and institutional contexts.
  • ULO4: Critically evaluate the validity of a number of prominent critiques of law and human rights using anthropologically informed approaches.
  • ULO5: Apply a critical understanding of human rights and its critics to real world situations and phenomena.
  • ULO6: Analyse how cultural difference affects the interpretation, implementation, and enforcement of the law and human rights in different societies.

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

See the iLearn page for this unit

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

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Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

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