1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
9 units of any first level topics
Topic description

How are race, crime and sovereignty connected? By using the foundational legal fiction of terra nullius as the starting point, this topic proceeds to examine contemporary 'legal fiction' in order to bring into focus a number of politically charged, socio-legal issues in the area of Australian race relations. The mythological meanings surrounding a range of traditional legal concepts such as 'equality before the law', the 'rule of law', 'racial equality' and 'sovereignty' will be examined by situating these legal ideas within the context of debates around the 'refugee crisis', 'ethnic crime'.

We will be examining the increasing racialisation of punishment in civil as well as criminal contexts. These subject areas will be examined through critical and discursive analysis of primary legal texts as well as through social and cultural theory in order to disclose the interconnections between race, crime and sovereignty.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Bring into focus the connections between race, crime and sovereignty and to foster an appreciation of the complexity of these questions in political, cultural and socio-legal terms
  • Teach a critical approach to law which can effectively become a critical practice when used in the context of law reform and policy work
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the complex interconnections between race, crime and sovereignty
  2. Apply socio-cultural and critical approaches to traditional legal texts and concepts
  3. Critically evaluate institutions of law in order to disclose institutional racism or other discriminatory practices
  4. Engage in critical practices informed by social justice and ethical concerns
  5. Apply critical analysis skills to effectively evaluate, synthesise and judge material
  6. Demonstrate sritical argumentation skills
  7. Work effectively with others