Australian History

Monash is a particularly active centre for the research and teaching of Australian History.  It offers a comprehensive range of undergraduate units as well as an internationally recognized postgraduate program.  The History program includes some of the foremost scholars of Australian history working on such topics as Australians at war, social and cultural history, oral history and memory, public history and heritage, and urban history.

As well as the staff located in the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies, there are a number of Australian historians located in other Schools and Centres acros the Faculty of Arts.  These include the Monash Indigenous Centre and the National Centre for Australian Studies, as well as the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Raelene Frances.  Details of some units offered by these centres can be found at the bottom of this page.

SOPHIS Staff Research Areas

SOPHIS includes a number of staff working across the broad field of Australian History. Their broad research interests are as follows:

Alistair Thomson Oral history; Collective memory; British and Australian social history
Bain Attwood Australian and New Zealand indigenous history
Kat Ellinghaus Social and cultural history of the United States and Australia
Kate Murphy Australian history and social history
Seamus O’Hanlon Nineteenth and twentieth-century Australian and British urban, social and cultural history
Christina Twomey Cultural History of War; Australian social and cultural history
Graeme Davison Australian urban and social history; heritage and public history
Marian Quartly Australian social, political, and religious history; women’s history and gender history.

Australian History Units in SOPHIS

We offer a wide range units in Australian history from first through to fourth year (honours). For a full list of units, see the handbook but you might want to consider:

Undergraduate Units Offered

ATS2588 – Australia to 1901: Making a nation   This unit offers a critical examination of Australian people and culture from the earliest days of European settlement until the federation of the colonies in 1901 and the introduction of the White Australia policy. It explores the economic, social and cultural impact of colonisation and emigration on both newcomers and indigenous people; looking also at conflict over access to land, mineral wealth, political power and the control of working conditions; contests over the definitions, benefits and limitations of citizenship and at the fate of the family. It will also examine how artists, novelists, film-makers, politicians and historians have pictured Australia’s colonial past.
ATS2587 – Twentieth century Australia: From Anzac to Apology Semester 1 2012. A study of the changing character of the Australian state and of national aspirations and identity. The topics covered include federation and national goals in the first decade of the twentieth century, the defence of the state from external and internal enemies, including consideration of involvement in overseas conflicts from the First World War to Vietnam, the significance of race and gender, changing representations of the Australian way of life, and the remaking of Australia in the 1980s and 1990s.
ATS 2584/3584 Australia’s Black History Semester 2 2012 This unit will consider relations between indigenous and non-Aboriginal people in Australia since 1770. The main topics will include the legal basis of British sovereignty; the nature of frontier contact; violence and the dispossession of Aborigines; Aboriginal depopulation; Aborigines’ responses to colonialism; government policy and practice, from segregation to assimilation; and Aboriginal political movements. The unit will simultaneously examine the political and theoretical dimensions associated with representing the Australian Aboriginal past and, in particular, the relationship between power and knowledge in historical discourses.
ATS2931/3931 – Making histories Semester 2 2012. How do we make the past into history? In this unit you’ll learn how to make histories. You’ll consider different ideas about history-making, and then practice critical use of various historical sources – many of which will be online – such as life writing, oral history, archival records, newspapers, visual sources, material culture, and landscape. You’ll apply these new ideas and intriguing sources by developing a proposal for an original history research project (for a written dissertation or for an exhibition, website, film or radio), and you will produce a short online digital history which profiles your project.

Postgraduate Units Offered (Masters by coursework)

A full list of postgraduate coursework units can be found here, but you might want to consider:

APG4297 – Recording oral history: Theory and practice This unit examines the theoretical and methodological issues posed in the creation of oral history interviews, drawing upon the rich inter-disciplinary and international literature in the field and through critical reflection on students’ own oral history interview practice. Students will explore: debates about memory and oral history; approaches and issues in interview preparation; approaches and issues in conducting oral history interviews; digital audio recording techniques and issues; ethical, epistemological and political issues posed by the oral history relationship; and approaches and issues in the documentation and preservation of oral history interviews.
ATS4299 – History and heritage  History and Heritage introduces students to the policy and practice of heritage professionals in the twenty- first century. The unit draws on local and international examples to demonstrate the contested nature of what constitutes heritage. Students are introduced to ideas about cultural and architectural heritage, the meanings of culture, cultural significance, ‘reading’ historic buildings and landscapes, and how all of these are interpreted by heritage professionals. Students learn the various local, national and international statutes that protect and enhance physical and cultural heritage.
If you are interested in studying Australian History as a research degree (HDR) visit here and visit the staff profiles above for possible research supervision areas.

Units offered in other academic units

Australian History units are offered in a number of different schools and centres across Monash. In particular, students interested in Australian history should consider taking units at the National Center for Australian Studies, which offers an interdisciplinary program in Australian studies. Some units to consider include:






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