UBC: Law 315
UVic: Law 362
Macquarie: Law 413
INTRODUCTIONThis course offers a study of comparative legal history as a means of understanding the relationships between law, society and culture in two modern western states, Australia and Canada, which previously comprised clusters of British colonies established at different times, for different purposes, during the late 18th, and through the 19th century.
This is a collaborative undertaking involving faculty and students from four Universities on two continents (UBC, UVIC, ANU and Macquarie). Normally every year parallel courses will be taught during the same term by Professor Wes Pue, Professor John McLaren, Professors Simon Bronitt and Professor Bruce Kercher at the faculties of law at the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria (in British Columbia), the Australian National University (in Canberra) and Macquarie University (in Sydney), respectively. In 2001-2002 the instructors are Wes Pue (UBC), John McLaren (UVic) and Bruce Kercher (Macquarie).
Involved in the design work for the course, in addition to the faculty members, have been: Pamela Cyr and Sara Gregory (Law graduates, UVic); Doug Harris (formerly graduate law, UBC, now a member of faculty there); Sheila Talbot (tireless typist, U Vic); and Katy Chan, Kate Seaborne and Judy Somers (Distance Education Services, Continuing Studies, UVic).
Readily available distance education technologies (in particular a course web site and discussion groups) are used to supplement classroom teaching at each location, to pair students at participating institutions with students (and research resources) at the others, and to develop a fully integrated inter-faculty course of instruction drawing on the expertise of participating faculty and students.
Arrangements have been made with the several computer labs to facilitate student access. General details on how to use the web site and other interactive technology are set out below, and will be supplemented by information from each school.
Among the topics covered in the course are: the impact of chronology and geography on law in the two countries; the relationship of law to social values and economic policies and assumptions; the path to constitutional independence; immigration, citizenship and race; industrial relations; the treatment of Aboriginal peoples; morality and criminal justice; and tensions between the impulse to centralization and the desire for local autonomy and cultural pluralism. The colonies of New South Wales, Upper Canada, South Australia and Vancouver's Island/British Columbia are the subjects of the most detailed study.
This seminar will be of particular interest to students wishing to understand the social and historical roles of law in relation to cultural context and diversity; colonization and colonialism; strategic, political and economic impulses to imperialism; the conflicting pulls of centralization and localism in imperial and colonial legal systems; the assimilative functions of colonial law, and the sources of resistance to it in the context of ethnicity, class, culture and gender; as well as the process of constitutional and legal evolution in Australia and Canada.
FACULTYThe course will bring together the experience, creativity and expertise of the following faculty:
READINGSSeminar content will be directed, in part, by the individual research interests students will be pursuing as part of the course. The following are assigned as course readings for UVic and UBC students:
EVALUATIONThis seminar will be evaluated on the basis of class participation (including Internet communication) and written work. Details of the evaluation elements, and grading schemes may be found in the course outlines for each school.
COURSE CONTENT AND METHODOLOGY
The course is organized round a number of modules. These modules are constructed so they combine narrative by one or other of the instructors and quotations from books, essays and articles that bear on the topic under consideration and questions relating to the materials, which are in the body of the text. There are also visuals including maps, photographs, portraits and other artwork, (poems, folk songs etc.), biographies and historical documents which are linked to the main text. Required readings which are stored in an HTML or FTP site (File Transfer Protocol) are also accessible by students from the main text. Access to documents and maps as well, as "hot links" to other web sites of interest are available from the menu to the left in the side bar. Students are From time to time referred to videos, CD ROMs and audio CDs of interest.
The modules are designed to allow students to make their way through each unit of the course by use of the web site in the lab or at home. The material on the web site is designed to be informative in providing contextual information relating to the topics covered in the course, engaging through its use of visuals, artifacts and documents, and progressively provocative in using quotations, questions and assertions to get students thinking about colonial legal history in a broader socio-legal and theoretical context.
Students will be expected to have consulted and used the material on the web site, read the required readings and considered and formulated a position on the questions included in the particular module or segment before classroom discussion of that material (unless otherwise advised - Macquarie students note in particular). Students will be challenged to use the communications features of the Internet to make contact with both other students and faculty members during the contextual module phase of the course in order both to address or pose questions and to share insights. When students at the three schools are working in the interactive modules, each student or group will do a commentary on one of the required reading pieces, which will be posted on the web for discussion and critique by students at both law school and at the other institutions.
The modules are the following:
WEBBOARD USER'S GUIDEColonial Legal History uses a Web-based conferencing system called WebBoard to provide an online environment for student and instructor exchange. For instructions on how to access the WebBoard, link here to a downloadable Portable Document Format (PDF) WebBoard User's Guide.
You will require Adobe Acrobat Reader to read and/or print the WebBoard User's Guide. If you do not have Acrobat Reader already installed on your computer, you can link to the Adobe Web Site to download the Reader free.
NAVIGATING THE WEB SITEThe designers of this website welcome any comments and suggestions for improvement which users may have. Please forward your comments to Learning Technologies Group.