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Elective: Art, Literature, and Law - The Question of the Human Nature of Right(s)

Vak
2016-2017

Admission requirements

This course is only available for second year students in the BA International Studies.
The number of participants is limited to 25.

Description

Art and literature have, historically speaking, always been concerned with questions of justice, often addressing moral or political issues that could or cannot be entirely addressed within the confines of the law. In this course we study the relations between art, literature and law, focusing on the different ways in which (quasi-) legal issues are broached by art and by literary texts. Special attention will be devoted to the way in which works of art and literature rethink the notion of humanity. As we will see art and literature may raise fundamental questions about our legal system and our ideas on justice.

Additionally, the students will work through W.C. Booth, G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Course objectives

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.

The elective courses for International Studies are designed to teach students how to deal with state-of-the-art literature and research questions. They are chosen to enhance the students’ learning experience by building on the interdisciplinary perspectives they have developed so far, and to introduce them to the art of academic research. They are characterised by an international or comparative approach.
Academic skills that are trained include:
Oral presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured oral presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using up-to-date presentation techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience;
3. to actively participate in a discussion following the presentation.
Collaboration skills:
1. to be socio-communicative in collaborative situations;
2. to provide and receive constructive criticism, and incorporate justified criticism by revising one’s own position;
3. adhere to agreed schedules and priorities.
Basic research skills, including heuristic skills:
1. to collect and select academic literature using traditional and digital methods and techniques;
2. to analyze and assess this literature with regard to quality and reliability;
3. to formulate on this basis a sound research question;
4. to design under supervision a research plan of limited scope, and implement it using the methods and techniques that are appropriate within the discipline involved;
5. to formulate a substantiated conclusion.
Written presentation skills:
1. to explain clear and substantiated research results;
2. to provide an answer to questions concerning (a subject) in the field covered by the course
a. in the form of a clear and well-structured written presentation;
b. in agreement with the appropriate disciplinary criteria;
c. using relevant illustration or multimedia techniques;
d. aimed at a specific audience.

Timetable

The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

Seminar and supervised research.

Course Load

Total course load for the course: 10 EC x 28 hours= 280 hours, broken down by:

  • Hours spent on attending lectures and seminars: 2 hours per week x 12 weeks = 24 hours;

  • Time for studying the compulsory literature and completing assignments: 8 hours per week x 12 weeks = 96 hours;

  • time to prepare an in-depth presentation on one topic = 16 hours

  • Time to write two small essays and a paper (including reading / research): 12 hours per week x 12 weeks = 144 hours

Assessment method

Assessment

  • Paper

  • Abstract, oral presentation.

Midterm paper (Deadline T.B.A., please bring a print-out of your paper to class)

The assignment is to write a 3000-word essay in which you relate an artwork to one of the theoretical texts that we have discussed in the first six weeks of the course. The idea of the essay is that you practice ‘reading’ an artwork for the question that it poses about law and justice, and that you frame this question in theoretical terms. The artworks that we propose for you to write about are:

  • Alexander González Iñárritu’s film, Amores Perros

  • Antjie Krog poems

Final paper (Deadline 9 June 2017, hand in via email)

For the final paper we ask you to write another 3000-word essay, in which you read an artwork for a question related to the course themes, and frame it in terms of relevant theory selected from any of our readings. We will discuss your choices of case studies and theory in the last session of the course.

Weighing

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following:
the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average

  • Participation (10%)

  • Presentation (10%)

  • Midterm paper, 3000 words (40%)

  • Final paper, 3000 words (40%)

To complete the final mark, please take notice of the following: the final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

To pass the course, the weighted average has to be 5.5 at least.

Resit

In case of resubmission of the final essay (insufficient grade only) the final grade for the essay will be lowered as a consequence of the longer process of completion. The deadline for resubmission is 10 days after receiving the grade for the final essay.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrollment in uSis
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

Texts:

  • Act of Abjuration, http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/before-1600/plakkaat-van-verlatinghe-1581-july-26.php

  • Thomas Aquinas, from Summa Theologica II, ‘Questions 90-97’ http://www.archive.org/stream/treatiseonlawsum017571mbp/treatiseonlawsum017571mbp_djvu.txt

  • Hannah Arendt, “Epilogue” and “Postscript” to Eichmann in Jerusalem; “Holes of Oblivion.” The Portable Hannah Arendt, ed. Peter Baehr. London & New York: Penguin, 2000. 365-390.

  • Alain de Benoist, ‘What is Sovereignty?’ http://www2.congreso.gob.pe/sicr/cendocbib/con2_uibd.nsf/A20317BBCECF9E1E0525770A00586F60/$FILE/what.pdf

  • Stephen Best, ‘The Slave’s Two Bodies.’ The Fugitive’s Properties. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004. 1-25

  • Judith Butler, ‘Violence, Mourning, Politics.’ Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso, 2004. 19-49.

  • Howard Caygill, ‘Resistant Subjectivities’. In: On Resistance: A Philosophy of Defiance. London/New York: Bloomsbury, 2013.

  • Charlotte Delbo, “Kalavrita of the Thousand Antigones.” Days and Memory. Evanston: Marlboro Press, 1990. 87-109.

  • Jacques Derrida, ‘Force of Law: The “Mystical Foundation of Authority”.’ Acts of Religion. New York: Routledge, 2002. 230-258.

  • Ariel Dorfman, Widows. London: Abacus, 1983.

  • Michel Foucault, Abnormal. London: Verso, 2003.

  • Hans Kelsen, ‘What is Justice?: Justice, Law, and Politics in The Mirror of Science. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1960.

  • Julia Kristeva, ‘Forgiveness: An Interview.’ PMLA, vol. 117, no. 2 (2002). 278-295.

  • Antjie Krog, Country of My Skull. Guilt, Sorrow, and the Limits of Forgiveness in the New South Africa. London: Random House, 1998.

  • Randall Lesaffer, ‘Argument From Roman Law in Current International Law: Occupation and Acquisitive Prescription,’ The European Journal of International Law, vol. 16, no. 1 (2005). 25-58.

  • Martha Nussbaum, ‘The Literary Imagination in Public Life,’ New Literary History, vol. 22, no. 4 (1991). 877-910.

  • Kaja Silverman, ‘Back to the Future’. Camera Obscura, September 1991 9 (3 27): 108-132; http://www.scribd.com/doc/39997475/Blade-Runner-2c-Silverman

  • Peter Singer, ‘All Animals are Equal’. In: Tom Regan & Peter Singer (eds.), Animal Rights and Human Obligations. New Jersey, 1989, pp. 148-162; http://www.animal-rights-library.com/texts-m/singer02.htm

  • Julie Stone Peters, ‘"Literature," the "Rights of Man," and Narratives of Atrocity: Historical Backgrounds to the Culture of Testimony’. http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlh/vol17/iss2/3/

  • Virginia Woolf, ‘Three Guineas’. http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks02/0200931.txt

  • Emile Zola, The Beast Within. London: Penguin, 2007.

Most texts are made available through Blackboard. Texts that are not made available on Blackboard need to be purchased in advance.

Booth, W.C., G.G. Colomb, J.W. Williams, The Craft of Research, third edition, Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Registration

Enrollement through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.

Contact

T. L. de Zeeuw

Remarks

The deadline for submission of the final essay is 9 June 2017.

Passing this course is an entry requirement for the thesis and thesis seminar, elective year 3, and Prasctising Internatonal Studies.