Developing critical citizenship in LLB students: the role of a decolonised legal history course

Author: Lize-Mari Mitchell

ISSN: 2411-7870
Affiliations: Lecturer, University of Limpopo.
Source: Fundamina, Volume 26 Issue 2, p. 337-363


Within the neoliberal ideals of society, social science subjects are battling for their rightful place in curriculums. As a result, legal history courses are being presented by increasingly less universities in South Africa. In the tendency towards a skills-based LLB, higher education institutions are neglecting to acknowledge the immense impact students’ ideologies and critical thinking will have on the future of South Africa. This contribution argues that it is not only possible to deliver competitive graduates, to retain social subjects and to heed the call for decolonisation, but that a transformative, decolonised legal history course is vital to these ideals. The contribution explores the role of such a course in the development of LLB graduates where it strives towards constitutional ideals and social justice. Furthermore, it takes a look at legal history as a form of critical citizenship education, where it is based on the holistic development of students within constant critical self-reflection and the promotion of a common set of shared values. The development of critical citizenship in students are explored by defining this concept, as well as by discussing the manner in which it can be taught and the importance to the so-called born-free LLB student. This study concludes with broad outlines of the manner in which a legal history course would have to be presented within a critical pedagogy to achieve the aims of critical citizenship.