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VSA3800 - Colonial/Postcolonial: Australian Art and Film

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Leigh Astbury


Not offered in 2007


This unit explores major issues in Australian visual culture since white settlement from a postcolonial perspective. Areas for study will include the imaging of settlement from the colonial era to the present; the changing conception of Australia's cultural relationship with the South Pacific and its inhabitants; the apparent need to create popular heroes such as the bushranger and explorer; the meaning of the war experience for the Australian populace; the issue of race relations in both colonial and postcolonial contexts; and, inevitably, the perennial appeal of the landscape in Australian visual culture.


Upon completion of this subject students will have:

  1. A sound general knowledge of major issues in colonial Australian visual culture and their critique in contemporary art, film and theory.
  2. An understanding of postcolonial theory and its relevance to Australian visual culture, both past and present.
  3. Studied the inter-relationship of both still and moving media in constructing changing identities.


Essay (3500 words): 60%
Visual test (2 hours): 40%
Third-year students will be expected to read more widely and work at a higher level than second-year students.

Contact hours

4 hours (1 x 1 hour lecture, 1 x 1 hour tutorial and 1 x 2 hour screening) per week


Two units at first-year level in Visual Culture or a comparable discipline