Law and Resistance (Khoday)

Course Number
LAW 3364
Course Description

This course examines some of the many intersections between law and resistance and several related themes. Resistance has played a role in helping to shape law, as well as legal and political systems. Law has also served to legitimize some forms/acts of resistance. The course draws upon and examines numerous sources including international law, national legislation and case law, in addition to a variety of secondary sources including legal, social science and interdisciplinary, scholarship, newspaper articles and audio-visual material. The course also explores various ways in which resistance has been waged.

Students delve into a plethora of subjects and themes including some of the following:

  • Defining resistance and legitimacy
    • This includes:
      • Definitions of resistance
      • The relationship between resistance and the concept of “political opinion” in refugee law
      • The legitimacy of resistance
  • Gender, law and resistance
    • This includes:
      • Agency and victimhood
      • Refugee law, Resistance and domestic violence
      • The use of litigation to resist sexual violence
  • Armed resistance, political crimes and terrorism
    • This includes:
      • International law and national legislation endorsing and diminishing armed resistance
      • Armed slave rebellions
      • Armed resistance and the concept of “political crimes”
      • Legal conceptualizations of terrorism and the impact on resistance
  • Indigenous Peoples’ resistance and the law
    • This includes:
      • Indigenous resistance to colonialism in historical context
      • Resistance to the residential “school” system in Canada
      • Indigenous armed resistance and political crimes – the Ts’Peten/Gustafsen Lake Standoff in 1995
  • Resisting anti-Black racism
    • This includes:
      • Resistance to slavery in Canada and the United States
      • Resistance to segregation and systemic discrimination
      • Resistance in the era of Black Lives Matter
  • Disability rights and resisting ableism
    • This includes:
      • Envisioning an accessible world
      • Diversity of resistance engaged by people with disabilities
      • Litigation as a tool to challenge barriers and discrimination
  • 2SLGBTQ+ resistance
    • This includes:
      • Instances of 2SLGBTQ+ resistance in Canada
      • Instances of 2SLGBTQ+ resistance in the Global South
      • Trans resistance
  • Resisting Detention
    • The includes:
      • Political prisoners and resistance within carceral spaces
      • Escaping detention
      • Resisting prison conditions

The foregoing themes may intersect with various doctrinal areas of law, including: criminal law and defences, refugee law, extradition law, military law, constitutional law, and human rights law.

This course will be offered during the Fall 2022 semester. Subject to other considerations, the plan is for this course to be delivered in person at Robson Hall.


Teaching Method

This is a seminar style course.

Assuming that the course is delivered in person at Robson Hall, the use of laptops or other technological devices will not be permitted during class hours. Exceptions will be permitted as directed by the course instructor, for example, when students present their papers, serve as discussants or undertake particular class exercises. Students will be permitted to access their technological devices during class breaks.


• Major research paper (7,500-10,000 words excluding footnotes) – 65%
• Paper Proposal – 10%
• Participation – 25%
o Positive class contributions throughout the semester – 10%
o Discussant role – 10%
Each student will be expected to serve as a discussant for at least one class session during the semester. A seminar discussant assumes a more active and leading role in responding to questions posed by the instructor or other class participants.
o Paper presentation – 5%

Course Materials

A compilation of articles, legislation, cases, and other materials available on UM Learn or other sources. No textbook will be used.