ATS4301 - Reading and writing history - 2018

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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



Organisational Unit


Chief examiner(s)

Professor Bain Attwood


Professor Bain Attwood

Not offered in 2018


APG4301, APG5301


This unit is designed to improve your understanding of the craft of writing history. The emphasis throughout is on reading history across different periods and places in order to appreciate the strategies used in the writing of history. A variety of styles and genres of historical writing will be studied, in order to analyse some of the key elements of historical prose, such as story-telling, scene-setting, characterisation, placing oneself in the text, documentation and the onus of proof. The unit also encourages self-conscious reflection about style, prose and voice, and has workshops designed to improve and extend students own experience of writing history.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate their ability to examine issues of historiography and method through a critical reading of selected historians.
  2. Analyse some of the key elements of historical prose, such as story-telling, beginnings and endings, transitions, scene-setting, characterisation, placing oneself in the text, addressing different readerships, documentation and the onus of proof, irony and indirection, the use of different voices and tropes, formal and colloquial prose.
  3. Demonstrate a high level of development of practical skills in reading and writing historical prose.


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

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