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  3. Multiculturalism and the State

Multiculturalism and the State (LAWS90106)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeLAWS90106
Availability(Quotas apply)
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

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.

This highly topical subject deals with some of the most significant, challenging and contested issues in the legal systems of the world in the 21st century. It is likely to be of considerable interest to students from a wide range of jurisdictions and backgrounds.

Principal topics 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.

Intended learning outcomes

A student who has successfully completed this subject will:

  • Have a comprehensive understanding of the justifications for accommodating groups in general, and religious groups in particular
  • Have a sophisticated appreciation of 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.

Last updated: 20 July 2019