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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2011
Coordinator(s)Adam Clulow


Previously coded HSY2075


Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the business of war has been monopolized by nation states. Over the past decade, mercenaries and private military companies have re-emerged as an important force in world politics. The new trend to contract the task of war has changed warfare and the nature of state control over violence. This unit examines the historical development of the mercenary from the medieval period to the present day in Asia and Europe. The focus is on the shifting relationship between the state and private violence.


Students successfully completing ATS2578/ATS3578 (Soldiers of fortune) will be able to demonstrate:

  1. a thorough understanding of the different forms of the mercenary and mercenary organizations across periods and societies;
  2. a critical understanding of the development of the state and the ways in which notions of state sovereignty and authority have changed;
  3. a critical understanding of the role that war and violence has played in state formation;
  4. a thorough understanding of the ways in which modern mercenary companies represent a return to an older form of authorized, private violence and also a sharp departure from past practices;
  5. an enhanced ability to work with and analyse a wide variety of primary and secondary sources; and improved skills in using sources to construct a logical and forceful historical argument;
  6. the capacity to prepare web presentations and contribute to a database.
  7. the capacity to work with others to produce a collaborative research project and presentation.In addition, students at third-year level will be able to demonstrate a more complex grasp of the theoretical concepts linking mercenaries to wider political and social developments over time, and a greater ability to use primary source material in their essays.


Written work: 65%
Web-based and oral presentation: 20%
Tutorial participation: 15%

Contact hours

One 1.5-hour lecture per week
One 1-hour tutorial per week

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

International studies


A first-year sequence in History or permission