1 x 2-hour lecture weekly
1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
Assignment(s), test, tutorial participation.
Topic description

This survey topic explores how war has affected and continues to affect Australia and Australians. The topic covers pre-colonial Indigenous societies at war, the Frontier Wars, the World Wars and other conflicts in which Australians have been involved, including Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. The topic will ask if war has been a defining factor in the shaping of Australia and its national identity, exploring both the fronts and homefronts on which Australians mobilised for war. Conflicts will be placed in their broader international contexts, and an assessment will be made as to their outcomes for Australia and Australians. Why have Australians engaged in warfare? How did they do so and how has this united and divided them? Is Australia a pacifist nation? Why has ‘Anzac’ been central to the current national narrative? What about questions of gender and war? What roles have women played and how has that changed over time, and what have been the impacts of war on gender relations in Australia? These questions will be considered through the use of a wide array of textual, visual and material evidence.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Increase your knowledge and understanding of the major themes and issues in Australian histories
  • Draw your attention to the forces that shape our perception of the Australia's pasts and the ways history is used in the present
  • Enable you to recognise and critically evaluate the arguments you encounter in secondary historical works while respectfully responding to one another’s perspectives
  • Introduce and develop various approaches (methodologies) of historical study including the use of primary sources for historical research
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Analyse key themes, issues and events in Australia's history with an awareness of the forces that shape our perceptions of the past
  2. Distinguish between primary and secondary sources and critically evaluate the arguments encountered in secondary sources
  3. Examine a variety of approaches used by historians to draw conclusions about the past
  4. Construct a compelling argument using primary and secondary sources
  5. Engage in collaborative learning with an attitude that fosters mutual respect