LW3LR-Law and Religion

Module Provider: School of Law
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Dimitrios Kyritsis

Email: d.kyritsis@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module aims to provide a critical analysis of the relationship between law and a variety of religions on a range of legal issues/areas/topics.

This module introduces students to a range of theoretical approaches to the study of law and religion, to equip them with the critical tools to apply sociological critiques to established legal concepts, categories and reasoning in a variety of contexts.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module it is expected that students will be able to:
• Critically evaluate the relevance of religious issues to law and legal policy and the relevance of legal interventions in religious issues as well as to religious laws;
• Articulate coherent arguments in support of theoretical positions on contemporary issues of law and religion;
• Illustrate the application of religious considerations in regard to specific areas of law and develop arguments in favour of reform.

Additional outcomes:
Students will be able to:

- Undertake directed reading in preparation for seminars
- Participate in class discussions
- Take an informed position on relevant social, religious and political issues
- Lead a seminar discussion with a group presentation
- Write a critically informed essay.

Outline content:
There are two strands of content to the module. The first strand of module content introduces students to a range of theoretical approaches to the study of law and religion which provides the tools for a critical understanding of the area. The second strand features a variety of case studies of religious issues in topics drawn from a range of legal subjects which may include employment law, EU law, discrimination law, family law, human rights, the philosophy of law, property law and religious obligations. Topics will be chosen according to interest, topicality and staff availability and expertise.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
‘Law and Religions’ is such a broad topic that this module adopts a discussion-style approach. In the Autumn Term, there will be a 2 hour workshop introducing students to the module requirements (learning outcomes, modes of assessment, deadlines etc) and introducing the topic of various perspectives on law and religion. Videos of the module content will be made available to students on a fortnightly basis. First, the students will have a chance to ‘Meet the Team’ in videos whereby each member of the teaching team provides a 20 minute (approximately) introduction to their research and particular perspective on the topic of law and religion. This will be followed with 5 discussion videos (approximately 1 hour in length) in which three or four members of the team engage in a video-recorded chaired discussion on a key theme related to law and religion. The videos are designed to show students how to craft respectful and rational arguments on the topic to emanate during seminar sessions in the Spring Term. Members of the teaching team may also contribute additional videos or audio files in order to explain a key point/legislation/case/issue in further detail (approximately 20 minutes). Students will be expected to undertake relevant preparatory reading prior to attending seminars and to participate in discussions. In the Spring Term, seminars will be student-led. Students will be required to undertake relevant preparatory reading prior to attending seminars and to participate in, and on one occasion (in small groups) lead, discussions. Small-group teaching means that the development and expression of informed viewpoints and debate will be facilitated.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 10
Practicals classes and workshops 2
Guided independent study 98 90
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Other information on summative assessment:

One 10-page assessed essay formatted in accordance with the rules set out in the Law School Guide (programme assessment) due around the end of the spring term (deadline to be notified). 70%
Students will contact one of the Module Convenor’s to discuss the topic and legal perspective his or her assessed written work will focus on. The Module Convenor will put the student into contact with a member of the teaching team to discuss a one-page plan and title of their work. Once agreed, that person will sign-off the student’s title and topic.

Group Presentation

One presentation of 20 minutes as part of a group discussion on one of the issues covered in the staff-led seminars. Students will receive written summative feedback (to additionally act as formative feedback prior to the submission of the essay). For the purposes of the group presentations, each student will be assessed individually on his or her own contribution to the presentation (75% of the mark awarded for the presentation) as well as on his or her overall contribution to the group (25% of the mark awarded for the presentation). 30%

The presentation allows students to examine one topic in depth, with small groups of students working together on different aspects of the same topic, and to present their ideas in oral rather than written form, with due regard for the different skills that oral presentation requires. The essay allows students an opportunity to undertake an extended piece of scholarly research into a question that ranges across the module and draws on their earlier research but also the knowledge and ideas gleaned from other sessions. The assessment criteria will require students to make direct reference to areas covered in the module material in order to ensure full participation throughout the module and to deter plagiarism.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    See Programme Handbook (Assessment) but note that only a failed element need be re-taken, with marks for a passed element carried forward.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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