ATS2691 - Politics, violence and memory - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit

Politics and International Relations


Dr Paul Muldoon

Not offered in 2017


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 are expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the political importance of 'coming to terms with the past';
  2. Give an account of the conceptual tensions and ambiguities surrounding the theory and practice of dealing with past injustices;
  3. Understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of conventional institutional responses to injustice based in law and the more innovative institutional responses based in theories of political reconciliation;
  4. Think critically about the implications our struggles to come to terms with the past carry in terms of the relationship between politics and time;
  5. Undertake structured research tasks and demonstrate high level written communication skills.


Within semester assessment: 70% + Exam: 30%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 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


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units. It is highly recommended that students only take this unit after they have completed two gateway units in Politics.