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UCD Australian Studies Centre

Ionad Léann na hAstráile UCD

Australian History Modules

Modules on offer for 2017-18

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: Australian History and its Afterlives

This module surveys the history of Australia since colonisation, and considers how key moments in Australian history have been remembered and debated in the public domain. Drawing upon contemporary commemoration, memorial and museum practices, its themes include: the history and memory of early European exploration and colonisation; the agency of indigenous people in national history; the frontier experience and race relations; the transition from self-governing colonies to federated nationhood; histories of migration; experiences of war; the shift to multiculturalism; and the changing nature of Australian identity in a globalised world. In doing so, it will compare representations of Australian history with other nations of the Anglo settler world, and consider some of the ways in which historical imagination is shaped both within and beyond Australia.

HIS31850: Contested Histories in Australia

This module surveys important controversies in Australian history, and situates them within a comparative context of historical contestations that have unfolded within other western democracies. Through a case study approach, students will engage debates about the place of history in the production of national identity, and undertake guided research and analysis of a chosen topic. Topics for consideration include: pioneer origins; historical evidence of frontier wars; the nature of the rule of law; the Anzac legend and Australia’s role in world war; indigenous rights; and Australia’s relationship to Europe and to the Asia-Pacific region.


 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.