HUMN 7033 Religion and Law in Contemporary Public Discourse

Credit Points 10

Legacy Code 102202

Coordinator Jane Durie Opens in new window

Description Debates over the role of religion as well as religious law in the public sphere have been ongoing themes in recent decades in many countries. Religion and law are two important yet rival sources of normative reasoning of public order in which they are constitutive, regulative and coercive forces. The subject introduces students to various understanding of the interrelations between religion and law in the societal and individual domains of the public sphere; and reflects on the contentious nature of the relationships given sensitive issues such as religious education, equal marriage, abortion, human rights. In the first part of the subject, students study the relationship between law and religion in various faiths such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The second part examines how different religious traditions interact and intersect with different legal traditions (common and civil law system) in a range of countries (for example Australia, UK, Israel, Indonesia, India, Iran).

School Social Sciences

Discipline Studies In Human Society

Student Contribution Band

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Postgraduate Coursework Level 7 subject

Assumed Knowledge

Undergraduate degree or equivalent.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain the intricate relationship between religion and law in multi-faith contexts and in relation to diverse social issues;
  2. Analyse prevailing debates about state policies that concern faith and religious communities in various countries with different legal systems;
  3. 3. Assess the implications of the positioning of religious discourses and religious law in the public sphere.

Subject Content

The intersections of religion and law
Religion and law in Judaism
Religion and law in Christianity
Religion and law in Islam
Religion and law in Hinduism
Between religious and secular legislations
Between official and unofficial courts
Between private and public schools
Between pillarisation and deconfessionalisation
Can religion and law reconcile?


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Essay 1,000 words 20 N Individual
Book Review 1,500 words 30 N Individual
Essay 2,000 words 50 N Individual