1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
1 x 2-hour seminar weekly
Enrolment not permitted
1 of HIST2062, HIST8010 has been successfully completed
Topic description

The premise of this topic is that criminal deviance and bodies have intertwined histories. Their meanings are constituted by habits of interpretation formed in political, cultural and legal contexts. These habits, informed by and buttressing regulation, often serve to shore up the ideals of the body politic.

This topic begins by examining first encounters between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians: how did European interpretations of Indigenous bodies shape broader assumptions about cultural difference and establish foundations for the various regimes that have regulated Indigenous bodies? We then look at the ways in which male and female convicts' bodies were marked and read as deviant and the gendered nature of their policing and punishing. We examine women’s attempts to manage their reproductive bodies alongside anxieties about race and population expressed through state attempts to control reproductive choices, including how Aboriginal, immigrant and refugee bodies have been interpreted through the lens of these anxieties. Medical and social understandings of physical and mental fragilities will be studied in relation to war, linking masculinity, injury and domestic violence. Finally, the history of the criminalisation of non-heteronormative bodies and the extent of transformation wrought by sexual revolutions and legal change will be used to illustrate the complex and contradictory nature of regulatory processes. We will work with these examples in order to understand constructions of the ‘deviant’ body in Australian history and the visions they sought to serve.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Familiarise students with theories of embodiment as they are relevant to the study of history
  • Equip students with the necessary critical tools to incorporate theories of embodiment into their consideration of historical eventsand periods
  • Give students a firm grasp of key aspects of Australian histories, including Indigenous histories, and their relationships to questions about politics and ethics
  • Enable students to master written and oral communication
  • Provide a learning context in which students hone their collaboration skills in a mutually respectful atmosphere
  • Engage students in research tasks that will further develop students' ability to think independently
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Apply expanded philosophical and conceptual frameworks across disciplinary boundaries, to their reading and writing of history
  2. Demonstrate understanding of crucial moments in Australian histories, including indigenous histories, and their relationships to questions of politics and ethics
  3. Demonstrate high-level written and oral communication skills
  4. Work both collaboratively and independently and demonstrate awareness of ethical issues relevant to historical research