• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Humanities
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Laurajane Smith
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

This 2000 level course provides an introductory overview to the field of heritage and museum studies and explores some of the conceptual, political and ethical issues faced by those working within and researching in the area of heritage and museums.  The course questions dominant perceptions that heritage is simply about the collection and management of artifacts, sites and monuments and challenges students to engage with understanding heritage as an area of cultural and political practice. Students are introduced to the key intellectual frameworks that allow us to understand heritage as a form of cultural practice, while each week students are introduced to particular issues or ‘problems’ that heritage represents and are encouraged to explore and debate their meanings, consequences and, where relevant, their resolutions. This is the core course for the minor area of study in heritage and museum studies and will lay the foundation of some of the conceptual, political and ethical issues that will be explored in more depth in other subjects of the minor. It will also provide a critical framework for understanding and assessing heritage and museum practices that will be explored in the practice based courses within the minor.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  1. critically analyze the concept of 'heritage' and of the range of tangible and non-tangible associations that the term may have both within Australia and internationally;
  2. outline the history and development of the concept of heritage in contemporary society;
  3. analyze the role heritage and museums play in the formation, maintenance and negotiation of a range of identities and historical and cultural narratives at both national and subnational levels;
  4. critique the role heritage and museums play in the processes of remembering, forgetting and commemoration;
  5. analyse the various ways the concept of heritage is utilized in heritage interpretation, education, the media and tourism;
  6. identify and analyze the consequences heritage has in political conflict and the role that heritage and museum experts play in the mediation of such conflict.

Indicative Assessment

Student led discussion/tutorial participation 10% (variously tests all learning outcomes)

Tutorial paper 1,000 20% (tests learning outcomes 1 and 2)

Minor essay 1,500 25% (tests learning outcomes 3 and 4)

Major essay 2,500 45% (tests learning outcomes 5 and 6)

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.


As a 6-unit course, students are expected to spend 130 hours in meeting the study and assessment requirements of the course. The course will consist of 36 contact hours, comprising of one x two hour lecture and one x one hour of tutorial per week. The remainder of the time will be spend on undertaking weekly set readings for the lecture and tutorial and in producing assessments for submission.

Prescribed Texts

Harrison, R. (ed) (2010) Understanding the Politics of Heritage,Manchester University Press.

Smith, L. (2006) Uses of Heritage, London: Routledge.

Assumed Knowledge

This course does not assume any prior knowledge with heritage and museum studies.




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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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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
3058 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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