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UCD Australian Studies Centre

Ionad Léann na hAstráile UCD

Australian History Modules

Modules on offer for 2015-16

The Centre run modules which draw upon the research interests of its staff. A 2nd year module provides the introductory basis for a broad engagement with Australian history, while a 3rd year module allows students to have a deeper engagement in the major historiographical issues and primary sources.

HIS21070: Australia - From the Dreaming To Today

This module surveys the history of the Australian continent and its people from the beginnings of Aboriginal colonization, some 50,000 years ago, to the present day. Themes that will be considered include: the nature of Aboriginal society; early European exploration and colonisation; frontier conflict; economic and political developments in the settler colonies, nation-building and changing identities; and the experiences of war, migration, and the shift from assimilation to multiculturalism. We will consider Australia’s role in the British Empire and in the wider Asia-Pacific Region, and highlight the contemporary challenges of life ‘down under’.

HIS31850: Making Australian History

This module surveys key perspectives and themes in contemporary Australian historical practice, and then encourages students to engage in guided research and analysis of a chosen area. Topics for analysis include Indigenous and non-Indigenous histories, developing national, class and regional identities, as well as moments of crisis and political upheaval such as the Eureka Rebellion of 1854, Federation in 1901, 1916-1917, and the political crisis of 1975. The emerging colonial capitals of Sydney and Melbourne will be considered along with Australia's changing external relationships with the UK, the USA, Ireland, and Asia. We will explore how immigration changed the face of Australia and consider its future as a hybrid society 'under the stars of the Southern Cross'.


 Previous Modules 

HIS21010: Identity Culture and Politics: Australia and Ireland in the 20th Century

At the beginning of the 20th century Australia and Ireland  were, in effect, dependent colonies of Great Britain. However, during the course of the century they both developed into independent nation states. In doing so they often took different paths, despite their common heritage. This course examined the events and the processes by which this nation-building occurred in each country. The aim of the course was to provide students with an understanding of how Australia emerged after 1901 as a independent democratic nation by  comparing how it and Ireland responded to the political, cultural and economic challenges that their peoples faced during the course of the 20th century.


HIS31770: Home and Away: Australia at War 1914-1918

In 2014 we commemorated the centenary of the start of the First World War, a war that had a profound effect on the Australian nation. This course examined the conflicts on the battlefield, covering the major battles in which Australians fought, as well as the conflicts at home during this critical period in Australia’s history. The aim of the course was to provide students with an understanding of Australian defence policy before the war, the raising of the Australian Imperial Force and its performance during the war, the main battles in which Australians fought, the effect of the war at home on the social, economic and political life of the country, Australia’s role in the peace conference, and the consequences of the war for Australia.


HIS 20920 Australia's World

This unit examined Australia's relations with the world in the post-war era. It explored the historical themes which shaped Australia's response to a rapidly changing international environment: loyalties to race and empire; communities of interest and culture; the 'Free' versus the 'Communist' worlds; the rise of Asian nationalism, the alliance with America and Australian military engagements from Korea to Vietnam. It also investigated the making of Australia's foreign and defence policy from the 1980s to the present, including debates over engagement with Asia and the war on terror.

HIS 30340 Post-Imperial Australia: Into the Void

This unit examined the intersection between political culture and nationalism in Australia, with particular attention to the question of when (and if?) Australia became an 'independent' nation. Taking as its starting point the content and character of British race patriotism in Australia before 1945, it then looks in detail at the gradual unravelling of the British myth in the post-war period, and the attempts by successive governments, along with writers, pundits, artists and film makers, to find a new, more authentically robust idea of the 'nation'.  Among other issues, the unit explored the end of 'White Australia', the rise of multiculturalism, Aboriginal reconciliation and the rise and fall of republicanism.