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 UnitAustralian Centre for Jewish Civilisation
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2014 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr. Noah Shenker


This unit focuses on the histories, theories, and applications of conceptions of trauma in relation to events from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It explores trauma from international and interdisciplinary perspectives: as a concept that spans such areas as psychology, film and media studies, literature, history, philosophy, and anthropology, among others. In turn, that exploration will help illuminate a number of transnational and transhistorical case studies that may include: the rise and scope of modernity from a global perspective at the turn of the nineteenth century; war traumas associated with both past and current conflicts spanning Europe, Asia, and the Middle East; experiences of political and social struggles, human rights violations, and genocides taking place throughout the globe; issues of colonization and decolonization; the perpetration of sexual and gender-based violence worldwide; and to the study of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other classifications of individual and collective suffering that shape how traumatic histories are remembered and represented


Students successfully completing this unit will be able to demonstrate:

  1. An understanding of the various individual, historical, cultural, and political factors that contribute to the shaping of traumatic memory.
  2. The ability to insightfully articulate and analyse the scholarly debates regarding differences between individual and collective experiences of trauma.
  3. The skills to critically assess the limitations and possibilities of employing Western conceptions of trauma to understanding non-Western contexts.
  4. An understanding of how trauma operates as both an internal psychological experience and as an external, social, and global phenomenon.
  5. A clear understanding of how traumatic memory shapes the representation of violence and suffering from an international perspective, through fiction and non-fiction writing (including novels, memoirs and works of historiography); film and television; museums and memorials; and photography, painting, and other media.
  6. The ability to critically analyse different kinds of historical sources including audiovisual testimonies.
  7. The development of skills for collaborative learning and group work.
  8. The acquisition of solid writing and oral presentation skills.


Final exam: 20%
Short essay: 20%
Oral presentation: 10%
Participation: 10%
Long essay: 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

2-hour lecture, 1-hour tutorial, 9 hours reading and assignments per week

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