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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2010 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Robin Gerster


This unit examines the centrality of war to modern cultural history, as revealed in a range of literary and non-literary sources. Covering literary, visual and historical responses to World War I, though World War II (including the Holocaust and the atomic bombings), the Vietnam War, the Rwandan genocide, to the 'War on Terror', the unit analyses how mass violence poses a range of representational challenges, and been influential in disseminating the practices and intellectual trends of modernity and postmodernity. Issues covered include the redefinition of traditional concepts of 'the hero' and assumptions about national identity.


On successful completion of this unit students will have:

  1. a strong critical sense of the major representational elements of war writing and film since World War I
  2. a theoretical understanding of the relationship of war writing to the ideas and some of the important practices of modernity and postmodernity
  3. a demonstrated understanding of the role of the media in disseminating public knowledge of war and conflict
  4. demonstrated a sophisticated grasp of cultural concepts of heroism and racial virtue, as they have been invoked and revised
  5. an informed reading of the importance of gender to perspectives on war and conflict.

In addition, students enrolled at Masters level will demonstrate a greater mastery over the broader conceptual issues addressed in the unit, and a greater capacity to produce more developed arguments and analyses arising from them.


Research essay (4000 words): 50%
Textual analysis (3000 words): 40%
Seminar presentation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Robin Gerster

Contact hours

One 2-hour seminar per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study



A major sequence in Communication, or any other related major approved by co-ordinator


ENH2225/ENH3225 (Heroes Twilight), COM5110