International Law, Culture and Identity

Subject LAWS70310 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 7 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

April, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 - 26 contact hours per subject.
Total Time Commitment: Not available




Recommended Background Knowledge:

Applicants without legal qualifications should note that subjects are offered in the discipline of law at an advanced graduate level. While every effort will be made to meet the needs of students trained in other fields, concessions will not be made in the general level of instruction or assessment. Most subjects assume the knowledge usually acquired in a degree in law (LLB, JD or equivalent). Applicants should note that admission to some subjects in the Melbourne Law Masters will be dependent upon the individual applicant’s educational background and professional experience.

Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne Law Masters welcomes applications from students with disabilities. The inherent academic requirements for study in the Melbourne Law Masters are:

  • The ability to attend a minimum of 75% of classes and actively engage in the analysis of complex materials and debate;
  • The ability to read, analyse and comprehend complex written legal materials and complex interdisciplinary materials;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate in writing a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to clearly and independently communicate orally a knowledge and application of legal principles and interdisciplinary materials and critically evaluate these;
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a group;
  • The ability to present orally and in writing legal analysis to a professional standard.

Students who feel their disability will inhibit them from meeting these inherent academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit:


For more information, contact the Melbourne Law Masters office.

Email or phone +61 3 8344 6190.

Alternatively, visit our website:

Subject Overview:

Successfully implementing international law requires understanding its operation in local settings, which often involve complex cultural dynamics. Human rights enforcement, transitional justice strategies and humanitarian law interventions are all deeply embedded in politics of cultural formation and identity. This subject explores the pressing need to take a bottom-up approach to international law and contextualise it within local, regional and global cultural processes as well as situate it with respect to non-state actors such as non-government organisations (NGOs) and grassroots social movements. Issues will be explored through case studies, including the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, current cases before the International Criminal Court, the World Social Forum and Global Justice Movement and the unfolding impact of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in reference to Latin America. The lecturer is a leading scholar in human rights, global governance and the cultural politics of legal pluralism.

Principal topics will include:

  • Historical genealogies of ‘culture’ and ‘human rights‘
  • The possibilities and limits of global governance
  • Transitional justice paradigms
  • Indigenous peoples and human rights
  • Global justice movement
  • Globalisation and identity politics.

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Understand how discourses of human rights, transitional justice and humanitarian law operate as cultural processes
  • Understand the historical links between cultural constructions of others and practices of law and politics in international and domestic jurisdictions
  • Be familiar with various methodologies and theoretical perspectives that seek to examine the production of cultural identity in the context of legal engagement
  • Appreciate the increasing role of non-state actors in the development and implementation of international legal norms

Class presentations (20%)

Take-home examination (80%) (12 pm 1 June to 5 pm 4 June)

Prescribed Texts:

Core subject materials will be provided free of charge to all students. Some subjects require further texts to be purchased. Visit the Melbourne Law Masters website for more information about this subject.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information:

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