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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

HIST3453 The Body in Australian History, 1788-2007

20 creditsClass Size: 28

Module manager: Dr Alexia Moncrieff

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

How are bodies policed, restricted and defined? How does the state exert control over the bodies of its subjects or citizens? How do individuals and groups resist that control? How have bodies shaped the experiences and political significance of different groups in Australian society? This module will explore these questions by assessing the ways ideas about sex, disease, eugenics and disability have shaped key moments in Australian history. Beginning with the invasion in 1788, this module examines the ways perceptions of physical difference shaped ideas about cultural difference between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It looks at changing ideas about sex and sexuality and investigates shifting notions of who it is permissible to have sex with, when and why. It also considers the debates around the making of babies and the status of wounded and heroic bodies in Australian culture, delving into the development of new technologies and their role in redefining problematic bodies.This module will include the discussion of topics students may find difficult, including sexual violence. Any questions should be directed to the module convenor.


This module aims to:
1. Explain and evaluate the changing relationship between the state and the bodies of its subjects/citizens in Australia since 1788
2. Examine the histories of sexuality, disease, eugenics and disability in Australia since 1788
3. Equip students to incorporate theories of embodiment into their consideration of historical events and periods
4. Evaluate key historiographical and methodological developments in relation to the history of the body in Australia
5. Critically analyse a range of primary sources in a variety of forms
6. Consider what constitutes ethical practice in the writing of intimate histories

Learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this module, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
1. Demonstrate a good awareness of key events, people and themes in the social and cultural history of Australia
2. Demonstrate the ability to think critically about the relationship between individuals/groups and the state
3. Apply the methodologies of social and cultural history, particularly the close reading and interpretation of texts
4. Locate and critically analyse primary sources relevant to Australian history
5. Carefully and critically evaluate the approaches and arguments of scholars working in the field
6. Demonstrate skills of historical analysis verbally and in writing


Topics may include:
Attempts to define racial difference
Ideal and problematic bodies
Policing and restraining bodies
Sex and disease
Sexual and reproductive rights
War-related disability
Technological developments that alter, protect and/or assist bodies

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours178.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

-preparatory reading and tasks before seminars
-further self-directed research and reading
-preparation of assessments

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will receive formative feedback after each source analysis submission. Student progress will also be monitored through in-class discussions, office hours and tutorials.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay3000 word essay due by 12 noon Monday of Exam Week 160.00
Source Analysis3x700-word source analyses for 40% of module mark. One due on Monday of week 4 and remaining two due on Monday of week 10. Best two attempts count towards module mark.40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:25:08


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