• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Nicholas Halter
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

This course traces the history of Western exploration of the Americas, Australasia, Africa, Antarctica and beyond from the 15th to the 20th centuries. It will examine the ways in which Western travellers and explorers ventured out into the world beyond Europe, and how they sought to make sense of the environments and peoples they encountered. In this course we will study the diverse commercial, scientific, national, and personal motives explorers had for venturing out into uncharted parts of the world, including the search for imagined El Dorados as well as other fabled lands such as Terra Australis Incognita and Timbuktu. Themes covered in this course include: the interconnections between exploration and natural history including how 'specimens' collected by explorers influenced western scientific knowledge and taxonomy; the influence of technology and media on facilitating exploration and producing ever expanding audiences; and a critical evaluation of the idea of the 'lone explorer' by tracing how these travellers were self-fashioned, depicted in popular culture, and highlighting their often unacknowledged colleagues and intermediaries who assisted them.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the skills and knowledge to:

  1. demonstrate critical understanding of key themes and issues in the study of global exploration
  2. explain the relationship between exploration and imperial interests in different national and regional contexts
  3. examine and analyse primary sources to illuminate course themes
  4. effectively communicate ideas both orally and in writing
  5. conduct independent research and analysis

Indicative Assessment

Minor essay (1500 words, 35%) [LOs 1, 2, 3, 4]

Research essay (3000 words, 55%) [LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Oral and/or written contribution to class activities 10% [LOs 1, 2, 4]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


1 x 2-hour lecture and 1 x 1hr tutorial per week for 13 weeks, plus weekly reading and preparation time for assessments, making a total of about 130 hours of work over the semester.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of ANU courses towards a degree, or with the permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts

Weekly readings available through Wattle.

Students seeking preliminary reading for the course might consult:

Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe, Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration (NY: WW Norton and Company, 2006).




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1404
2014 $2484
2013 $2364
2012 $2250
2011 $2202
2010 $2148
2009 $2076
2008 $2076
2007 $2076
2006 $2076
2005 $2076
2004 $1752
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2340
2014 $3252
2013 $3096
2012 $2946
2011 $2946
2010 $2946
2009 $2946
2008 $2946
2007 $2850
2006 $2850
2005 $2850
2004 $2646
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8869 21 Jul 2014 01 Aug 2014 31 Aug 2014 30 Oct 2014 In Person N/A

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