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HSY3015 - History, Film and TV in 20th Century Australia

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Dr Christina Twomey


Not offered in 2007


Twentieth century Australians have learned their history as often from film and television as from books. This subject explores the major themes of Australian history in the twentieth century, showing how film and television have produced new interpretations of key events, individuals and myths of the national past. Feature-length films and television serials, mini-series and documentaries will be studied as narratives produced at specific historical moments. Students will develop a critical appreciation of the strengths and limitations of texts, especially pictorial texts, in the production of historical knowledge.


Students successfully completing this unit should:

  1. be able to understand some of the key themes and preoccupations of twentieth-century Australian society as made manifest in film and television.
  2. be able to assess critically the ways in which the makers of images have imagined and presented national identity, and how they have constructed and used the Australian past as part of this identity-making.
  3. have developed skills in the critical analysis of various kinds of sources, especially film and television, and understand the different theoretical approaches underpinning this analysis.
  4. have acquired solid writing and oral presentation skills
  5. have developed skills for collaborative learning and group work
  6. have developed research and bibliographic skills
Third year students will in addition have acquired the capacity to generate research essays on the basis of a critical reading of primary sources, both visual and textual.


Visual Source Analysis (1,350 words) 25%; Research Essay (1,700 words) 45%; Exam (1,000 words) 20%; Tutorial Participation 10%.

Contact hours

Three hours per week comprising of films, lectures and tutorials.


Completion of a first-year sequence in HSY or with permission.