ATS3955 - Writing destruction: Literature of war - 2018

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

Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Leah Garrett


Professor Leah Garrett

Not offered in 2018


The unit will focus on war literature of the 20th and 21st centuries as a means to understand the varied ways in which the events of war are described in literary discourse. We will first consider the relevant historical context, and the biography of the authors and whether or not they experienced the events directly, before discussing how the topic of war becomes a means to present larger issues such as the nature of what an enemy is, how terror is understood, the role of heroism, and what it means to be a victor. We will also examine how war writing discusses aspects such as gender, and how the literature is in sync with larger socio-historical trends. We will also analyse if and how the literature of war and loss is artistic.


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 how war is written about and memorialized.
  2. The ability to insightfully articulate and analyse the scholarly debates regarding differences between individual and collective experiences of the experience of war.
  3. The skills to critically assess the limitations and possibilities of employing Western conceptions of war to understanding non-Western contexts.
  4. Analyse the historical context of war literature and how it varies in place and time.
  5. Consider the difference between historically specific and universal representations of war and destruction.
  6. Explore the manner in which issues such as gender, trauma, loss, and heroism are represented in war literature.
  7. The ability to critically analyse different kinds of fictional sources from around the world.
  8. The development of skills for collaborative learning and group work.
  9. The acquisition of solid writing and oral presentation skills.


Within semester assessment: 100%

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

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