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Unit of study_

LAWS5214: Race and the Law

2023 unit information

Law has played an integral role in producing ideas about 'race' and in shaping the lives of racialised communities in Australia and elsewhere. Today however, some argue that the law is racially neutral and that we live in a post-racial society. This unit will explore influential scholarship in race critical theory and consider emerging debates on the relationship between the law, race, and racism. By drawing on race critical theory this unit aims to deepen student understandings of select laws and legal practices, including some laws students will have already encountered in their degree. The unit starts with seminal readings on race and the law from Australia and across the globe, including a focus on Indigenous scholarship, then delves into legal doctrine, and ends with some key debates on strategies of redress for racial harm. Topics may include settler colonialism; a White Australia; counter storytelling; whiteness and property; environmental racism; deaths in custody; border policing; diversity and inclusion; recognition; criminalisation of hate crime; and abolition. Lively class discussion is an important part of this unit and supports students in learning ways to speak about race and racism. The written assessments are intended to develop students’ confidence and capacity for academic research and writing.

Unit details and rules

Managing faculty or University school:


Code LAWS5214
Academic unit Law
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge:

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Students will be able to explain select theoretical approaches in critical race and whiteness scholarship.
  • LO2. Students will be able to analyse select laws or legal issues by applying theoretical approaches in critical race and whiteness scholarship.
  • LO3. Students will be able to deduce ideas, methods, evidence, and assumptions that underpin select historical and contemporary legal practices in order to evaluate these laws and alternative approaches.
  • LO4. Students will be able to identify strategies to reflect on how their assumptions shape their understandings in order to more deeply and ethically analyse law and justice issues.
  • LO5. Students will strengthen their skills in oral communication by contributing their reflections, building on the ideas of colleagues in class discussion, and through respectful debate.
  • LO6. Students will further their confidence in research and refine their ability to write clearly and persuasively.

Unit availability

This section lists the session, attendance modes and locations the unit is available in. There is a unit outline for each of the unit availabilities, which gives you information about the unit including assessment details and a schedule of weekly activities.

The outline is published 2 weeks before the first day of teaching. You can look at previous outlines for a guide to the details of a unit.

There are no availabilities for this year.
Session MoA ?  Location Outline ? 
Semester 2 2021
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 2 2021
Normal day Remote
Semester 2 2022
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Semester 2 2023
Normal day Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Modes of attendance (MoA)

This refers to the Mode of attendance (MoA) for the unit as it appears when you’re selecting your units in Sydney Student. Find more information about modes of attendance on our website.