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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2010
Coordinator(s)Professor Alistair Thomson


The past is over, but history is replayed and remade every day. This unit explores how the past is re-presented and contested in contemporary societies. It examines the use and significance of the past through critical examination of current literature, Australian and international case studies and fieldwork excursions to 'public history' sites in Melbourne. Case studies will include social history museums, heritage and the built environment, family photographs and memory, war memory and national identity in Australian and overseas, Holocaust memory in Melbourne's Jewish community, and reconciliation and remembering in post-conflict contexts such as South Africa after apartheid.


Students successfully completing the unit at second year level will be expected to develop a critical understanding of the uses of history in contemporary public discourse and to acquire practical skills in textual analysis and fieldwork. In addition, they will also be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an ability to formulate research projects and acquire independent research skills.

  1. Demonstrate an ability to present a sustained argument, based mainly on substantial primary sources.

  1. Place secondary sources in their cultural, ideological and epistemological context by showing where they fit into the current state of historical knowledge.

  1. Demonstrate an acquaintance with some of the ongoing debates about the philosophy and practice of history.

  1. Consider some of the more 'public' uses of history.

  1. Analyse critically the nature of historical memory and the role of history in society.


Written work: 70% (2500 words)
Test: 20%
Participation: 10%

Contact hours

1 lecture and 1 tutorial per week and 3 x 2 hour field excursions per semester

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



A first year sequence in History or permission


HSY3060, HYM4065