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In this paper the author reflects upon the challenges of teaching, and more importantly the challenges that students face attempting to learn about, constitutional law within the context of recent political upheavals in Fiji. Whilst on one level, the upheavals provide a topical and even captivating context for what is often seen as a dry area of study, there are a number of more disturbing resonances that emerge, particularly in relation to the cognitive journeys that students experience. Potential fears about academic freedom, and the apparent collapse of the very doctrines being studied, produce a variety of responses from students that reveal anxiety, confusion, resignation and, at times, a realism that is almost as disturbing as it is insightful into the real relationship between law, politics and raw power. This paper is mostly an action research-based paper that explores student responses and the teacher’s own experiences in trying to adapt to this rapidly changing environment. Despite the challenges, the experience is also invigorating because it exposes students and teacher alike to a journey to the fragile edges of the positivist view of constitutionalism and into a very personal and tactile post-structural experience.
Ricketts, A 2009, ‘Teaching constitutional law to Fiji students’, Journal of Australian Law Teachers Association, vol. 2, no. 1&2, pp. 207-216.
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