1 x 2-hour lecture weekly
1 x 1-hour tutorial weekly
1 x 8.25-hour independent study weekly
Enrolment not permitted
HIST2064 has been successfully completed
Assumed knowledge
9 units of topics from the History major.
Topic description

Environmental history is a dynamic, rapidly expanding field of inquiry into human pasts and their interfaces with natural, created and imagined environments. This topic is firmly based on Australian history but is cross-fertilized by global and long-run perspectives. It examines matters as diverse as weather and climate; land and water; feelings of environmental vulnerability; economic activities; food; and conjunctions of environmental and ecological concern with matters such as politics, art, ethics and religion. In investigating these matters, this topic examines the changing meanings of core ideas such as 'Environment', 'Nature' and 'Australian', and explores the ways in which they are given historical, political, social and/or legal meaning. Classic Australian examples include the ideas that have driven things like colonization, irrigation, suburban living, conservation and energy policies. This topic insists on no previous study of Australian history and will provide an introduction to historical methods and a brief time line of major Australian political and social events.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Guide students through a series of teaching examples/ thematic case studies that will enhance their general knowledge of how environmental factors have impacted on Australian societies in the past and how those societies have impacted on Australian environments, and will also expand their knowledge of key events in Australian history and, of key concepts in environmental history
  • Help students to identify which themes in environmental history might be significant to understanding Australian history (and why/to whom) and introduce students to relevant scholarly viewpoints of those themes
  • Provide students with opportunities to read widely in appropriate literature
  • Help students to further develop their abilities in scholarly communication (written and verbal, formal and informal, and in emotionally charged subject areas)
  • Foster an atmosphere of mutual respect and support students while they develop as both independent learners and collaborative creative thinkers
  • Further students' familiarity with a variety of historical sources and develop their ability to scrutinize and evaluate historical evidence and use it to construct complex historical explanations
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Identify significant themes in Australian environmental histories, recognise them in specific case studies, recount significant events and demonstrate familiarity with relevant scholarly perspectives
  2. Analyse the impacts of environmental factors on past and contemporary Australian society and the impact of those societies on Australian environments
  3. Analyse the probable causes and consequences of those impacts and use this analysis to compare Australian cases with non-Australian cases
  4. Comprehend, critically analyse and use historical evidence in constructing a reasoned and coherent argument and communicate their ideas and arguments, verbally and in writing
  5. Identify their own learning goals and make plans, direct (or re-direct) their activities and evaluate or assess their own progress towards meeting them. They will also seek appropriate assistance along the way