LW5010 - Trials of Dissenters

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What will I learn on this module?

This module will encourage you to place the ‘trial of dissent’ into a historical, political, social, economic, and cultural context. You will examine how the notions of orthodoxy and dissent have been characterised over time, through the study of several famous trials. By analysing selected trials and placing them within their historical and social contexts you will see how the law can be used to further political or social ends, and how prosecutors and defendants have used the resources and forensic skills available to them to support and resist the imposition of orthodox views.

You will look at the trials of dissenters in relation to several themes – religious; political; gender; literary; and scientific dissent. You will study a minimum of two trials for each theme. For example, for the concept of trial for dissent from religious orthodoxy you can study the trial of Socrates in Athens in 399 B.C.E, and twentieth-century blasphemy trials. On political offences, the trials of Thomas Paine in England in the late eighteenth-century, and the trials of the Suffragettes in the twentieth century are possible subjects. Scientific dissent can involve an analysis of the trials of Galileo Galilei and John Scopes. The concept of gender dissent is explored through a study of those considered to have contravened gender/sexual orientation norms; this might include, for example, the trials of Anne Boleyn and Oscar Wilde. Literary dissent may include the trial of Radclyffe Hall, or proceedings relating to publication of D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover for example.

How will I learn on this module?

On this module you will learn through a combination of large group supervised studio sessions, seminars, tutor guided independent learning and independent learning. The module adopts a student enquiry approach to learning and will require you to conduct research into topics and organise material for presentation.

Use of Large Group Sessions:
Rather than lectures, in ‘Trials of Dissenters’ large group sessions will introduce each theme and offer you an opportunity to independently and collaboratively research trials relating to those themes for presentation during seminars. Whole group sessions will be in the form of supervised studio sessions in computer / collaborative working spaces to enable you to work in groups or independently. A tutor will be on hand to assist. These sessions will require you to demonstrate your ability to locate and make effective use of legal source materials. You will be expected to engage in independent and, at times, directed learning in consolidation of work done in preparation for and during seminars.

Use of Small Group Sessions:
The small group seminars will cover a range of activities, but will mainly focus on student presentations for your chosen trials. Through this you will also learn how to effectively organise and communicate information orally.

Independent learning:
This is an important aspect of the module which will centre on you identifying further reading and research to provide deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of the chosen trials.

Assessment of learning:
Your learning will be assessed at the end of the Module through two short presentations. The tasks in the large group sessions act as preparation for the work produced for the final assessment and you will receive formative feedback in large group sessions on those tasks.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The University is well-placed to support you in learning and research with an excellent library and teaching facilities, access to on-line legal databases and resources and appropriate software.
This Module is designed and will be managed by your designated Module Tutor who will be responsible for guiding you in your engagement and learning on the module. All relevant materials and instructions will be accessible on-line through the module eLP site, maintained by your Module Tutor, who will also provide updates on issues relevant to the module. Extensive use is made of the eLP at module level to facilitate discussions between you and your Module Tutor, to provide materials, make announcements and to highlight recent developments and relevant research materials. You may communicate with your Module Tutor by e-mail or telephone and are encouraged to make contact if you encounter any difficulties relating to any aspect of the module.
Academic support is also available through formative feedback from tutors on your oral presentations and on summative assignments.
At programme level you will be supported by the Programme Leader who will provide pastoral support throughout the module and the programme as a whole.
The Programme Administration and Student Liaison teams are responsible for the non-academic administration of the module. They will contact you throughout the duration of your module with details about the assignment and other issues.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Apply and interpret substantive and procedural law in the wider context of a hypothetical legal case or project

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
At the end of the module you will have:
• Developed your abilities to recognise ambiguity and uncertainty in the law and identify potential alternative conclusions and provide supporting reasons for them.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
At the end of the module you will have:
• Developed independent thinking skills and curiosity
• Developed intellectual independence by asking and answering questions about law and legal systems, identifying gaps in knowledge and acquiring new knowledge

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment
You will work in groups to give presentations on the different themes. You will deliver a minimum of two formative oral presentations on your chosen trial or trials, on which you will receive individual feedback from seminar tutors and peer feedback from students in the seminar group, based upon agreed assessment criteria.

Formative assessment
You will work in groups to give presentations on the different themes. You will deliver a minimum of two formative oral presentations on your chosen trial or trials, on which you will receive individual feedback from seminar tutors and peer feedback from students in the seminar group, based upon agreed assessment criteria.

Summative assessment
This will be undertaken on an individual basis by way of two summative oral presentations which together comprise 100% of the marks for this module. This assignment aims to encourage a deep and critical approach to learning, developing an ability to think widely about the issues presented within the module and to explore these in-line with directed and independent learning.

Assessment criteria are provided to enable you to understand what is expected of you and how you will be judged on your performance.

Feedback will be given in accordance with the Law Schools’ Undergraduate Feedback policy currently in force. You will receive feedback on the formative assessment, as detailed above. Summative feedback will be available in written form and orally from module tutors. In addition, there will opportunities for feedback to your questions in seminars.

Pre-requisite(s)

NONE

Co-requisite(s)

NONE

Module abstract

‘Trials of Dissenters’ will encourage you to consider how the criminal and civil legal process has dealt with dissenters over time. You will consider ‘dissent’, through the study of several famous trials relating to specific ‘themes’: religious; political; gender; literary and scientific dissent. By analysing selected trials and placing them within their historical, political, and social contexts you will see how the law can be used to further political/social ends and how notions of orthodoxy and dissent have been characterised over time.

You will work independently and in groups to conduct directed and, at times, self-directed research including accurately identifying issue(s) which require researching for each of your chosen trials. You will locate and critically evaluate accurate, current and relevant information from a range of appropriate sources including primary legal sources. You will also learn how to effectively organise and communicate information orally.

Course info

UCAS Code M101

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Northumbria Law School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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