1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Multiculturalism and the State
  4. Print

Multiculturalism and the State (LAWS90106)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

You’re viewing the 2019 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks


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.

Eligibility and requirements


Melbourne Law Masters Students: None

JD Students: None



Non-allowed subjects

Students who have completed LAWS70373 Religion, State and Multiculturalism are not permitted to take LAWS90106 Religion, State and Multiculturalism.

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.

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 Student Equity and Disability Support.


Additional details

8,000 - 10,000 word research paper (100%) on a topic approved by the subject coordinator (2 October)

A minimum of 75% attendance is a hurdle requirement.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • July
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24-34 hours
    Total time commitment150 hours
    Pre teaching start date12 June 2019
    Pre teaching requirementsThe pre-teaching period commences four weeks before the subject commencement date. From this time, students are expected to access and review the Reading Guide that will be available from the LMS subject page and the subject materials provided by the subject coordinator, which will be available from Melbourne Law School. Refer to the Reading Guide for confirmation of which resources need to be read and what other preparation is required before the teaching period commences.
    Teaching period10 July 2019 to 16 July 2019
    Last self-enrol date17 June 2019
    Census date10 July 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail23 August 2019
    Assessment period ends 2 October 2019

    July contact information


    Professor Michael Karayanni, Coordinator

    Email: law-masters@unimelb.edu.au
    Phone: +61 3 8344 6190
    Website: law.unimelb.edu.au

Additional delivery details

This subject has a quota of 30 students.

Enrolment is on a first come, first served basis. Waitlists are maintained for subjects that are fully subscribed.

Students should note priority of places in subjects will be given as follows:

  • To currently enrolled Graduate Diploma and Masters students with a satisfactory record in their degree
  • To other students enrolling on a single subject basis, eg Community Access Program (CAP) students, cross-institutional study and cross-faculty study.

Please refer to the Melbourne Law Masters website for further information about the management of subject quotas and waitlists.

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    Specialist materials will be made available free of charge from the Melbourne Law School prior to the pre-teaching period.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    If required, please contact law-admissions@unimelb.edu.au for subject coordinator approval.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 20 July 2019