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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)Leigh Astbury


Previously coded VSA3230


This unit will study major themes and issues in Australian visual culture from the Heidelberg School era of the late nineteenth century through to the present. Selected themes for study include the landscape as subject matter and changing attitudes towards nature; the search for an Australian identity; the emergence of particular Australian myths; the influence of American visual culture; the diversification of cultural expression in the 1970s and manifestations of feminist visual culture; and the embrace of Aboriginal art and culture from the mid1970s onwards. The unit will conclude with a consideration of recent developments and issues of postmodernism in an Australian context.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students will have developed:

  1. A sound general knowledge of major themes and issues in twentieth and early twenty-first century visual culture.
  2. An ability to contextualise these developments within a broader social, cultural and psychological framework.
  3. An understanding of visual expressions of Australian identity as changing cultural constructions which are often exploited by individuals or sections of society for their own purposes.
  4. Critical skills that enable them to analyse a diverse range of material in visual culture.:
  5. An ability to demonstrate evidence of wider reading and a more complex understanding of the social, cultural and psychological underpinnings of visual culture production than that expected of ATS2740 students.


Essay (3000 words) : 60%
Visual Test (1.5 hours (1500 words equivalent)) : 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Leigh Astbury

Contact hours

1 one-hour lecture and 1 one-hour tutorial per week

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

Visual culture
Australian Indigenous studies


One first year level unit in Visual Culture or a comparable discipline