Feminist Legal Theory and Research

Subject 730-369 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Three hours per week
Total Time Commitment:

140 hours.


Legal Method and Reasoning; Principles of Public Law; Torts; Contracts; Legal Theory; Criminal Law; Constitutional Law; Property.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability

Subject Overview:

This subject aims to support students to undertake a feminist legal research project on a topic of particular interest at an advanced level, under broad direction from the subject coordinator and/or a research supervisor.

In the first 8 weeks of semester, students will be introduced to and invited to engage with a diverse sample of feminist research being undertaken within the Melbourne Law School. In a series of interactive colloquia, resident and visiting researchers will present papers from their current work and discuss with students substantive, theoretical and methodological issues arising from their research and its context. Presenters or the subject coordinator will also assign additional materials for pre-reading and discussion at the seminars. Students will be expected to participate actively in the weekly seminar discussions.

The topics covered in the subject seminars and the consideration of approaches to and applications of feminist legal theory and method will vary from year to year.

The research undertaken for Feminist Legal Theory and Research will result in preparation of a substantial piece of legal writing. Students will be expected to submit a detailed research proposal by the end of week 8. In weeks 11 and 12 of the semester, students will be required to present a brief work-in-progress outlining their research project, and to participate in providing feedback to other students in the subject.

Students may also combine Feminist Legal Theory and Research with another optional Law subject* or Advanced Legal Research (single semester) and prepare a 10,000 word research paper as combined assessment for both subjects. The approval of both the FLTR coordinator and the optional Law subject coordinator or Advanced Legal Research coordinator is required. Students are awarded the same mark for both subjects. The subjects may be taken in the same semester or in sequential semesters.

* The optional Law subject must have a 5000 word (100%) essay or written assignment as the mode of assessment.


On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate familiarity with relevant concepts, theoretical frameworks, and analytical and interdisciplinary methods employed within feminist legal theory and research;
  2. Apply analytical, critical, theoretical and evaluative skills to various legal, ethical and social policy issues considered in feminist legal theory and research;
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of the gendered and sexed dimensions of law and its applications in practice; and
  4. Demonstrate an awareness of the intersections between feminist legal theory and research and other critical approaches to law.

Written research assignment of 5000 words, due in the examination period and worth 100% of the final mark in the subject.

Prescribed Texts:

There is no prescribed text for this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students undertaking this subject will have the opportunity to practice and/or be assessed in the following generic skills:
  • attitudes towards knowledge that include ethics associated with knowledge creation and usage
  • the capacity for close reading and analysis of a range of sources
  • the capacity for critical and independent thought and reflection
  • the capacity to conduct research, including the ability to locate and evaluate relevant primary and secondary sources
  • the capacity to communicate clearly and effectively, both orally and in writing
  • the capacity to plan and manage time
  • intercultural sensitivity and understanding

In addition, by completing this subject, students will have the opportunity to practice and/or be assessed in the following skills specific to the discipline of law:

  • legal research and writing skills, including an ability to:
    • locate and evaluate primary and secondary legal sources
    • use case law, statutes and secondary sources as part of legal analysis
    • formulate a feasible and interesting research question (under general direction)
    • develop and substantiate a reasoned argument (thesis)
    • prepare a substantial piece of legal writing.

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