On Campus
1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly

Distance Online
1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
1 x 1-hour online exercise weekly
Enrolment not permitted
WMST8012 has been successfully completed
Topic description

This topic investigates the importance of memories and other representations of the past in the present. It investigates the various ways that the past is remembered, and forgotten, and examines the processes of seeking, communicating and interpreting memory. The topic focuses on the ways in which memorialising practices are shaped by competing contemporary discourses, with particular emphasis on the place of the politics of race, gender and sexuality in informing national identities and other forms of belonging. It also includes an exploration of the status of personal testimonies in contexts including historical research, the media and the law. Australian issues form the core material to be considered but debates about other nations' pasts will also be discussed. Case studies may include ANZAC, colonial frontiers, Lindy Chamberlain, the Stolen Generations, AIDS, homosexual histories, abortion, the Japanese 'comfort women' in World War Two and the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Introduce students to the area of memory studies and the ways in which memories are key in constructing not only personal but also collective and national presents
  • Introduce students to the diversity of ways in which memories of the past are carried and their always contested nature, including examinations of indigenous memories in Australia and other settler-colonial nations
  • Focus on the ways that memories are central in the creation of gendered, raced and sexualised individual subjects and collectivities
  • Introduce students to a wide range of case studies that suggests the importance of the practices of memory and memorialisation, and the issues of ethics and politics these speak to, in Australia and inselected other locations
  • Consolidate students' oral and written communication skills
  • Foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation that encourages students to both learn through collaboration and to become independent and critical thinkers
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of multiple interpretations of several historical events, including those of indigenous individuals and groups in settler-colonial nations
  2. Demonstrate familiarity with several key debates about the past and its relationship to the present and the political and ethical issues they raise
  3. Demonstrate familiarity with some contemporary theories and debates about the place of memory in constructing individual and collective narratives which shape understandings of the present
  4. Critically assess representations of the past, with particular attention to the ways in which ideas about gender, race and sexuality, play a part in shaping memories and shaping individual and collective identities
  5. Demonstrate effective written and oral communication skills
  6. Learn through collaboration and independent inquiry
  7. Demonstrate the ability to apply theories and conceptual frameworks that draw from a range of discipline