Research in Gender, Sexuality and Law

Subject LAWS40072 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

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

This subject is not offered in 2011.

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 and Procedure; Constitutional Law; Property; or in each case their equivalents.

Corequisites: None.
Recommended Background Knowledge: None.
Non Allowed Subjects: 730-369 Feminist Legal Theory and Research.
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills, and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to providing support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Melbourne Law School Student Centre
Tel: +61 3 8344 4475
Subject Overview:

This subject aims to support students to undertake a legal research project, which utilises gender and/or sexuality theory and research method, on a topic of particular interest at an advanced level, under broad direction of the subject coordinator and/or a research supervisor.

In the first eight weeks of semester, students will be introduced to, and invited to engage with, a diverse sample of feminist/gender and sexuality 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. Student 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 and queer legal theory and method will vary from year to year.

The research undertaken for Research in Gender, Sexuality and Law (RGSL) 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 this subject with another optional law subject* or Advanced Legal Research (ALR) (single semester) and prepare a 10,000-word research paper as combined assessment for both subjects. The approval of both the RGSL and the optional subject coordinator or the ALR 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.


On successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with relevant concepts, theoretical frameworks, and analytical and interdisciplinary methods employed within feminist and queer/sexuality legal theory and research;
  • Apply analytical, critical, theoretical and evaluative skills to various legal, ethical and social policy issues considered in feminist and queer/sexuality legal theory and research;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the gendered and (hetero)sexed dimensions of law and its application in practice;
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the intersections between feminist and queer legal theory and research and other critical approaches to law;
  • Demonstrate an ability to conduct research.

5,000-word written research assignment due in the examination period (100%).

Prescribed Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

Student undertaking this subject will have the opportunity to practice and/or be assessed in the following generic skills:

  • Attitudes towards legal knowledge that include openness to new ideas, ethics and awareness of location and politics in its 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.

The essay in this subject is regarded as a substantial piece of legal writing for honours purposes.

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