Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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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, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2012 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Associate Professor Kevin Foster


From semaphore to the silicon chip, advances in communication technology have re-shaped the public's access to and understanding of conflict. This unit will examine how the advent of new communications technology - the mass circulation newspaper, the telegraph, photography, the newsreel, radio, television, cable television, the internet and the mobile telephone - has re-framed the public's perceptions of and responses to war. Though an analysis of wars from the Crimea to Afghanistan it will analyse how, in an effort to monopolise its power or contain its effects, every war has, in part, been a battle for control over new communications technology.


Students who have successfully completed this unit will be able to:

  1. Identify the key communications innovations in the major wars from the Nineteenth to the early Twenty First century;
  2. Understand and be able to explain the principal effects of these technologies on public perceptions of each of these conflicts;
  3. Identify the most prevalent forms of censorship in these wars, how they were enforced, and explain their effects on the public's perception of war;
  4. Demonstrate a detailed knowledge of how new communications technologies shape media practice on the battlefield;
  5. Reflect a comprehensive knowledge of how the military employs new communications technology in its operations and yet seeks to prevent their effective use by the media;
  6. Demonstrate this knowledge in spoken and written form;
  7. Undertake unsupervised research in libraries, special collections and among peers;
  8. Students taking the unit at 3rd year level will be expected to demonstrate a more sophisticated grasp of the key theoretical concepts, a wider breath of reading at secondary level. They will be expected to assume a leadership role in tutorial group work, and will be required to append annotated bibliographies to all written work.


Report (450 words): 10%
Research project (1800 words): 40%
Exam (1800 words): 40%
Seminar participation: 10%

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Kevin Foster

Contact hours

One 2-hour lecture/seminar per week

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



An approved first year sequence