Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 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

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitPolitics
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)Dr Paul Muldoon


Previously coded PLT2120


There is a growing imperative for societies, particularly democratic societies, to deal with the violence of the past so that discordant groups can be reconciled and historical injustices repaired. This unit looks at the role of memory in politics and asks whether current attempts to 'deal with the past' are creating more compassionate democracies (i.e. democracies more attuned to the suffering of others) or making impossible demands upon the activity of politics itself.


On successful completion of this unit students at levels 2 and 3 are expected to be able to:

  1. Give a clear account of what is entailed in 'coming to terms with the past';
  2. Make precise theoretical distinctions between politics and violence;
  3. Understand the difference between retributive and restorative forms of justice;
  4. Think critically about the intrusion of religious and therapeutic themes into politics;
  5. Undertake structured research tasks and demonstrate high level written communication skills;

In addition, students undertaking this unit at level three are expected to be able to:

  1. Clearly differentiate between moral and political issues and forms of inquiry;
  2. Think critically about the limits of politics (i.e. what we can expect to achieve from political activity)


Oral presentation: 10%
Written work: 60%
Exam: 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

2 hours/week

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


First year politics sequence