Religion, State and Multiculturalism

Subject LAWS70373 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2013:

August, 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: The total class time is between 24 and 26 hours.
Total Time Commitment: Not available
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
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: None
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 and critique 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 to 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.

Phone: +61 3 8344 6190

Subject Overview:

Religious minorities in Western democracies are seeking legal accommodations, especially the freedom of maintaining an autonomous judiciary to handle internal family law matters. Drawing on the rich experience of countries where such accommodations were granted, the subject will inquire into the legitimacy and problems associated with such accommodations. In doing so, the subject will draw on modern theories of multiculturalism.

Principal topics will include:

  • Liberal multiculturalism, theory and practice
  • Group accommodations in a democracy
  • A survey of religious groups and illiberal practices
  • Traditional schemes of religious accommodations, with special reference to the Ottoman millet system
  • The reality of religious accommodations in Western democracies
  • The reality of religious accommodations in the Middle East, with special reference to Israel.

A student who has successfully completed this subject should:

  • Understand the justifications for accommodating groups in general, and religious groups in particular
  • Understand the problems associated with accommodating religious groups, especially when the particular group endorses illiberal practices
  • Have the capacity to identify the legal instruments meant to mitigate the effects of illiberal practices of religious groups
  • Be aware of the relevance of the constitutional culture for both the legitimacy of accommodating religious groups and the problems associated with such accommodations.

10,000 word research paper (100%) (11 November) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator

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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