1 x 1-hour lecture weekly
1 x 2-hour tutorial weekly
Examination (take home) 25%; Assignments; Tutorial participation.
Topic description
This topic introduces students to the field of Australian Studies and the inter-disciplinary study of Australian society. It encourages an awareness of the forces that have shaped and are shaping Australian society and provides an opportunity to analyse changing social and intellectual trends. In this topic students will have the opportunity to examine and question the ways in which concepts of national identity/identities have evolved and to consider the ideologies and formative influences that have shaped the nation. Indigenous and non-Indigenous experience, immigration and multi-cultural policies, equity, environmental and political issues, and Australia's changing geopolitical identifications are scrutinised. Ideas about competing national, cultural and sub-cultural identities are examined in the context of 'identity debates'. Students will ask what it means to be 'Australian' and to identify with 'Australia' and survey the distinctive characteristics, territorial claims and social attitudes implicit in this term. The topic draws on a number of disciplinary perspectives including: Indigenous Studies, Archaeology, Environmental Studies, Legal Studies, Politics, History, Women's Studies, and Media Studies.
Educational aims
The topic aims to:

  • introduce students to key themes and issues in Australian Studies

  • increase students' critical understanding of the various ways identities are formed and represented within Australia

  • develop students' understanding of representations of Australia within everyday practices

  • develop students' understanding of the different disciplinary approaches to particular social and cultural issues in Australia

  • address issues relating to Australian society within a regional and global context

  • develop research skills and analytical approaches in a multi-disciplinary context
Expected learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this topic, students will be able to:

  • identify, examine and question the ways in which concepts of national identities have evolved and to consider the discourses that have shaped the nation

  • identify and critically analyse Australian identities from a number of perspectives

  • demonstrate an understanding of Australia within a global and regional context

  • show evidence of working productively in group activities in tutorials

  • demonstrate enhanced skills in essay writing

  • demonstrate a broad knowledge of the course material through completing a take-home examination