Faculty of Arts

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 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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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitHistory
OfferedNot offered in 2015
Coordinator(s)Dr Kat Ellinghaus


This unit will explore the ways that Europeans interacted with people they encountered in settler societies in North America, Australia, and the Pacific. It will examine how these newly encountered groups of people were depicted in the era of colonialism, explore the histories of racial designations such as black, white and red, and examine how interracial sexual relationships complicated these neat colonial categories. Racism remains a huge problem in 21st century society: this unit will explore the background to this issue, not just narrating the events of colonialism, but putting the issue of 'otherness' and the formation of racial categories at the forefront of the story.


At the successful completion of the unit students will be expected:

  1. to have a detailed understanding of the history of settler colonialism as both a global and a local phenomenon
  2. to understand the theoretical arguments about how race was understood from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and how interracial sexuality came to play an increasingly important role in such classifications
  3. to be able to critically examine contemporary texts and drawings to evaluate what they reveal to the historian about ideas of race in the era
  4. to be able to fully articulate, verbally and in writing, their conclusions from these examinations
  5. to have shown their capacity to devise, research, and complete an essay on some aspect of Colonial Encounters based on their own study of the sources and scholarship
  6. to be able to reflect on the way in which history has influenced the present, through evaluating how our present-day racial formations are not fixed categories but historically and geographically unstable constructs
  7. In addition, students at fifth-year level will be expected to demonstrate more sophisticated analytical skills and submit work incorporating a higher level of competence in independent reading and research.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 288 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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