Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 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
Organisational UnitHistory
OfferedClayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Kat Ellinghaus


From the medieval period onwards, expansion brought Europeans increasingly into contact with diverse cultures and civilizations. This unit explores how encounters between Europe and the world were transformed from the tentative and uncertain contacts that characterised earlier periods to the self-confident imperialism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Rather than analysing the broad sweep of political history, we are interested in the leading edge of cross-cultural encounters: in travellers, diplomats, and slaves who 'crossed-over' to engage with new cultural worlds, in the tools that made these encounters possible and in the commodities that underpinned global exchange.


On successful completion of this unit, students will:

  1. gain a broad understanding of the historical timeline of European expansion
  2. gain a clear understanding of key historical debates about the rise of the West
  3. gain a thorough understanding of how cross-cultural encounters changed over time
  4. gain a clear understanding of different theoretical approaches that historians have used to conceptualise Europe's encounters with the world
  5. explore the evolution of historical debates over Orientalism
  6. be able to recognize and analyse key historical themes in the history of cross-cultural encounters
  7. learn how to work with archival sources
  8. learn how to use visual sources (such as paintingss) effectively in research
  9. have further developed their oral and written communication skills


Class participation: 20%
Written work: 80%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

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

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


Two gateway units in History, International Studies or Ancient cultures or permission from the coordinator.