• Class Number 4592
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Mark Dawson
    • Dr Mark Dawson
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
SELT Survey Results

This course investigates how Western societies have comprehended humanity's physical diversity and why these understandings have changed over time. We will examine the historical processes which gradually encouraged this diversity to be read both as evidence of permanent, innate, 'racial' difference and justification for socio-political inequality, or 'racist' discrimination. The course considers the concept of 'race' within the contexts of the development of scientific knowledge regarding the natural world and the intellectual history of what it was to be human. Students will explore how these ideas shaped colonisation and chattel slavery; nationalism and empire; segregation and sexuality; and eugenics and genocide.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. describe the origin and development of racial thinking in Europe, the Americas, and Australasia;
  2. evaluate scholarship on the history of race and racism, the human body, and the social/life sciences ;
  3. locate and interpret primary sources to generate insights into the past;
  4. complete an individual research project; and
  5. articulate their understanding of the past and relate it to both the historiography and present-day concerns.

Required Resources

Other than the expectation that students will either print out copies of the primary sources for tutorials, or bring them in e-form on a laptop or tablet, no materials (e.g. published textbooks) are required for purchase for this course. Secondary readings for tutorial preparation will also be available in Wattle as an electronic reading brick.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • individual
  • written
  • verbal

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Presenting and Referencing Coursework

Excessive Word-Count

A 10% allowance for submitted work, in addition to the figure listed for each assignment, is permitted. For example, candidates may write up to 3300 words for the Research Essay. Thereafter, a penalty of 10% applies. 

n.b. History counts everything in the main body of the essay, including direct quotations. Footnotes and bibliography are not included in the word-count, so you may need to tweak your word–processing software to exclude these components from its tally.


  • use a regular 12-point font such as Arial, Palatino, or Times. The text of footnotes can be 10-point.

  • use double-line spacing and try to leave a minimum of 2.5cm/1 inch margins. Footnotes are again the exception – these should be single-line spaced.

  • number the pages clearly, preferably in the top or bottom right-hand margin. 

  • note word-limits. In History, we count everything in the main body of the essay, including direct quotations. Footnotes and bibliography are excluded. Thus, only in rare instances should your main text offer the full title of a monograph, for instance. Usually you leave such details for the footnotes. Double-check that your software’s word counter is not tallying footnote content.

  • in the submitted version, any working subheadings should be converted into the opening, topic sentence of paragraphs.

  • make sure you append a bibliography (see below for more details).

  • if you wish, you may also add a postscript to your essays which reflects on the writing of the essay in 200 words or so, identifying aspects of the reading and writing which you found intriguing/effective or problematic/difficult; perhaps explaining why you took a particular approach or suggesting other future questions on the same topic. The postscript is optional, and therefore does not count toward your word-limit. It’s designed to aid my assessment of your work. Its main purpose is not to excuse technical troubles with the essay (e.g. several significant works were absent from the Reserve collection and could not be consulted for the essay). Such difficulties should be resolved in consultation with me as soon as possible.


  • centuries: when a time period is used as an adjective it is convention to hyphenate/compound (so: nineteenth-century New York). When a time period is used as a noun then the hyphen is dropped (so: during the nineteenth century, New York became America’s largest city). 

  • contractions: avoid these. For example, instead of couldn’t, stick with could not. Similarly, do without etc (or even the full term of et cetera). This either assumes your reader gets the wider point, or suggests laziness on the part of the writer. 

  • passive voice: avoid writing of things done to/by people e.g. It has been argued by George Stocking that... . The key reason for you to avoid passive voice is length. It’s far more concise (if not grammatically nice) to write simply: George Stocking once argued that... 


  • person: avoid both the second person (e.g. you can see that). Instead, use either the third person (e.g. it can be argued that...; one might suggest that) or first person plural (e.g. from these examples we can see that...). If your own opinion, on the basis of research, is called for, first person singular (I) is acceptable.

  • possessives: (or use of apostrophe-s). [It’s] is only ever short for it is. Hence: the British Empire was at the height of its power during the mid-nineteenth century. And similarly, a singular possessive would be (Queen Victoria’s reign), a plural possessive would be (The Southern states’ rebellion). If the noun typically ends in ‘s’ (e.g. W.E.B. DuBois) then either (W.E.B. DuBois’ work) or (W.E.B. DuBois’s work).


  • split infinitives: some still consider it bad form to write: ‘to boldly go where no one has gone before’, that is, an adverb (boldly) intervenes between the verb form (to go). Better to write: ‘to go boldly where no one has gone before’. 


  • tenses: your essays write about the past, so use the past tense when referring to people/events. By contrast, it is conventional to use the present tense when referring to scholars in print or still alive (e.g. Marilyn Lake contends that....) . Also, try to avoid shifting tense mid-sentence.


  • keep the submitted work simple: a clearly expressed and structured argument that makes use of adequate illustrative examples and details (in most assignments 2-3 well-chosen examples for each main point should be sufficient). 

  • in the main, introductions should outline the approach or thesis (argument and structure) of the essay. Conclusions should sum up the position of the essay. So, how its evaluation relates to the set topic (e.g. does it disagree strongly and, if so, why).

  • edit a final draft as a paper hard-copy whenever possible. Editing on-screen can mean unintentional additions to, or omissions from, work. When editing look to eliminate slang, repetition, convoluted sentences, and ambiguity.


The essential function of a footnote is to allow readers to work their own way back to the sources you have used when writing your essay. For History this can make for quite involved references, so we ask that you use consecutively numbered footnotes at the bottom of pages and avoid either endnotes or abbreviated references placed in the main text. Be aware that some open-source word-processing software will not export footnotes when the file is converted to .doc(x) format.

When it comes to the composition of footnotes you will inevitably encounter subtle differences between courses and disciplines. Ultimately, however, your footnotes must provide ‘workable’ references and follow the same format throughout your essay.

The School of History uses standard Chicago–style references and its manual, e-copies of which are available via the Library catalogue.

At the first quote from a work, provide full details of author, title, and publication before the page reference. So:

Book: Mark S. Dawson, Gentility and the Comic Theatre of Late Stuart London (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 222.

Journal Essays: Mark S. Dawson, “Histories and Texts: Refiguring the Diary of Samuel Pepys”, Historical Journal, 43, 2 (2000), 414-16.

Essays in Edited Collections: Mark S. Dawson, “ ‘Cast thy humble slough, and appeare fresh’: Reappraising the Advent of Early Modern English Whiteness, c.1600-1750”, in Historicising Whiteness, ed. L. Boucher, et al. (Melbourne: RMIT Publishing and Melbourne University Press, 2007), 355ff.

For subsequent citations of the same work simply use surname and brief title before page number. The exception is if the citations immediately follow each other. For instance, if the work cited in your fourth footnote is identical to that mentioned in the third, then you can use ‘ibid.’, followed by page reference. So:

Dawson, Gentility, pp.21-8.

Dawson, “Histories and Texts”, p.425.

For an important explanation of how proper footnoting helps you to stay on the right side of rules regarding plagiarism, see below.


Essentially, this is an alphabetical compilation, by author’s surname, of the sources you have used to write your essay. You should list only works cited in footnotes or those which you can readily demonstrate as having been read for the essay. Listing general reference works (e.g. dictionaries or encyclopaedias) is typically not required, nor are numbers or bullet points used to mark off each entry.

At this level (and certainly for a research essay), you can expect to divide the bibliography into smaller sections indicating the types of sources used. For early modern history, a common hierarchy would be:

Primary Sources 

  • Manuscripts (for anyone using these, please ask for further advice)
  • Printed Works (from the period itself but usually referenced as you would any other book)
  • Modern Editions (particularly when someone has transcribed a manuscript for you or otherwise edited the primary source)

Secondary Sources

  • Books
  • Essays (either from journals or collected into a book)
  • Unpublished Works (such as an Honours thesis)

How to Reference Sources Read in Facsimile

It is both fortunate and unfortunate that many sources, secondary and primary, are available to you as photographic/digital scans rather than in the original. We will be discussing this issue further in tutorials, but, generally speaking, you do not need to cut and paste lines of hypertext into your references.

If the item is a scan of an original hard-copy (e.g. a 1999 journal essay read on JSTOR) or a photographic pdf (e.g. of a book published in 1625 now residing in the Huntington Library, California), there is no great need to reference its URL (i.e. location on the Web). You can cite it just as if you had consulted the hard copy. Why? Because minimal editorial intervention is at work. The JSTOR scan, for instance, should match that of the 1999 printed journal that might otherwise be on the shelves at Chifley. No one has transcribed the original into a new form or edited out particular sections of the original (and we can look beyond the long odds that a scanning error was made). By contrast, if one browsed the web and found a site where someone had typed out a modern full-text transcription of the 1625 book, one would have to cite the website if quoting from the transcription. 


The University has a Code of Practice on Academic Honesty. This code prohibits obvious forms of misconduct in formal examinations (e.g. taking notes into a closed-book exam). For written coursework, however, the main offense to avoid is plagiarism. 

While plagiarism has a fairly simple definition, of presenting someone else’s work in such a way that it appears your own, each semester we will find students who have breached University rules. Sometimes the breach is deliberate (e.g. one student has copied from another, a student has submitted the same essay for two different courses), but usually it’s unintentional. Full details of the rules should be read at: http://cass.anu.edu.au/current-students/rules-and-policies/student-academic-honesty

Students unsure of how these rules apply to their own work should either discuss them with the course convener or visit the Academic Skills and Learning Centre. Below, a short summary of key ways to avoid attributing work to yourself inadvertently. 

It bears emphasis that most unintended misattribution can be avoided/occurs at the note-taking stage of essay preparation:

When you copy even a short phrase from your reading and then use it in your essay, the phrase must be marked clearly with quotation marks followed by a precise footnote. A first step to achieving this precision is taking notes which might, for example, keep a running tally of the page numbers down the margin and use red ink to highlight what is a word-for-word copy from the text.

When you summarize another author’s argument, or paraphrase their ideas using your own words, you must still indicate this is what you are doing. While you can sometimes begin this by referring to an author in the main body of your essay (e.g. Bernard Bailyn contends that...), the surest way to stay on the straight and narrow is to footnote your summary or paraphrase. Instead of having a direct quote and reference to single page however, your essay will refer to a page range (e.g. pp.211-25) within Bailyn’s work which your essay is condensing.

When your referencing of a (primary) source is derived from someone else’s research, your essay must show this clearly. For example, you should not lift reference to a late 17th-century letter from a scholarly monograph and pretend it’s your own; quote from it as though you had been to the archive and read the source for yourself. Instead, an example of the kind of format to use would be:

Lord Fauconberg to Lord Castleton, 23 October 1683, cited in Mark S. Dawson, Gentility and the Comic Theatre of Late Stuart London (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 155.

The words ‘cited in’ signal that your own quote from a 1683 letter comes courtesy of reference to it by someone else. Curious readers of your essay can, in turn, use your footnote to track back further to the letter’s original location.

***Exemplars, rubrics, current reading lists and other information which first requires student input (e.g. student choice of colloquium topic) will be published on Wattle.***

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture: What is “Race” & How Do We Study Its History? Tutorials: Introductions: mapping coursework choices
2 Lecture: Status Quo Ante: the Medieval Chain of Being Tutorials: Workshop: Writing the history of ideas, science, race
3 Lecture: Reconquest & Revelation; Renaissance & Reformation Tutorials: Workshop: Research proposals and essays
4 Lecture: Scientific Revolution & Rational Society Tutorials: Case study: "Sons of Adam" & racism, c.1450–1650 [Book review option – details below]
5 Lecture: The Discovery of Life & Matter over Mind Tutorials: Case study: "Black" slavery & racism, c.1650–1750 [Book review option – details below]
6 Lecture: The Evolution of Social Darwinism Tutorials: Case study: "Caucasian" freedom & racism, c.1750–1850 Research Proposals due on Thursday 04 April @ 5pm [Book review option – details below]
7 Lecture: Finding Cells at the Fin de Siècle Tutorials: *Individual research consultations instead – see Wattle for diary* *Draft seminar presentation schedule for May released
8 Lecture: Eugenics and Blood Redux Tutorials: Case study: "Neanderthal" Celts & racism, c.1850–1900 [Book review option – details below]
9 Lecture: Eugenics, or the Catastrophe of a Racial Biology Tutorials: Case study: "Aryan" Anti-Semites & racism, c.1900–1950 [Book review option – details below]
10 Lecture: Research colloquium: details tba Tutorials: Seminar: student presentation and commentary
11 Lecture: Research colloquium: details tba Tutorials: Seminar: student presentation and commentary
12 Lecture: The End of Scientific Racism? Tutorials: Seminar: student presentation and commentary Research Essays due on Tuesday 11 June @ 5pm

Tutorial Registration

via course Wattle site

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Book Review 20 % 04/03/2091 18/03/2019 1, 2
Research Proposal 10 % 04/04/2019 18/04/2019 1, 3
Tutorial presentation 10 % 13/05/2019 04/07/2019 1, 2
Research Essay 60 % 11/06/2019 04/07/2019 1, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.



Tutorials offer you the opportunity to engage actively with the course content with both your peers and your tutor. To be effective, tutorials must operate in a spirit of free discussion and open enquiry. Debate is welcome. Discussion should be respectful. As the ANU statement on Academic Freedom states ‘we are a community of robust debate, unafraid of uncomfortable ideas’. Tutorials model this community, seeking to ‘pursue knowledge, speak and write without unreasonable restriction.’ To facilitate this freedom to speak, tutorial discussion operates under the ‘Chatham House Rule’, where what is said within the tutorial may be discussed outside it, but without identifying the speaker. 



The School of History expects in-person attendance at all lectures. Lectures are never simply background information and are a central part of your learning experience. As one of the critical ways in which we recognise and enact the social nature of learning, they are a forum for the regular meeting of a community of scholars. In lectures, you develop the skills of synthesising information presented in real time, and the ability to take concise notes and develop questions. They are also an important mode of dissemination and debate in academic research. The lecture is in these ways often a foundational stage in the processing of information and evaluation of ideas and is carefully linked to the tutorial program. Indeed, you may well find you cannot understand tutorial content without attending lectures beforehand. Lectures in the School of History will often have an interactive element, and might present film and other media that cannot be conveyed via recordings. For these and other reasons, in-person attendance is a far more effective learning process than simply listening to recordings. The latter should be used only as a back-up for those with an occasional and unavoidable timetable clash or other valid reason for an inability to attend. Students should also be aware that History courses might in some cases involve in-lecture assessment tasks and that failure to complete these may incur failure in the course overall. Please consult the convener of the course on or before Week 1 if you are uncertain of your ability to attend the overwhelming majority of lectures. 


None – a research essay takes the place of a final exam.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 04/03/2091
Return of Assessment: 18/03/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Book Review

1000 words

20% of the final grade.

Due: 1 calendar week (@5pm) after we have discussed the book and/or its immediate historical context in the relevant tutorial. You will write a book review of one text related to one of the tutorial topics. Suggested titles are: 

Week 4 tutorial

Resnick, I.M., Marks of Distinction. Christian Perceptions of Jews in the High Middle Ages (Washington, DC, 2012). 

Week 5 tutorial

Foote, T.W., Black and White Manhattan. The History of Racial Formation in Colonial New York City (New York, 2004).

Taylor, G., Buying Whiteness. Race, Culture, and Identity from Columbus to Hip Hop (New York, 2005). 

Week 6 tutorial

Anderson, K., Race and the Crisis of Humanism (London, 2007).

Horsman, R., Race and Manifest Destiny. Origins of American Racial Anglo-Saxonism (Cambridge, MA, 1981). 

Week 8 tutorial

Jacobson, M.F., Whiteness of a Different Color. European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (Cambridge, MA, 1998).

Love, E., Race over Empire. Racism and U.S. Imperialism, 1865-1900 (Chapel Hill, 2004).

Week 9 tutorial

Ehrenreich, E., The Nazi Ancestral Proof. Genealogy, Racial Science, and the Final Solution (Bloomington, 2007).

Goldhagen, D.J., Hitler’s Willing Executioners. Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust (New York, 1996).


This exercise aims to give you practice engaging closely with historiography by asking you to choose a monograph and write an informed, scholarly review of it. Therefore, your review will probably be rather different from book reports you may have written before (“I liked this book because...”).

To get an initial sense of what’s required, pick up (or download) a recent issue of one of the main journals you may well already be using in this or another History course (e.g. American Historical Review, Journal of British Studies, Isis) and turn to the ‘Reviews’ section. You’ll notice that most reviews do the following (and yours certainly should):

1. Assume a particular audience. In this case, assume your review is for someone specifically interested in the history of race (that is, the construction of the social categories we will be examining throughout the course). An important initial consideration could be how the study defines or conceptualises race.

2. Summarize the book’s argument or thesis. This is not so much a synopsis of the book’s topic or content (e.g. “This is a book about phrenology in Victorian Britain”), as a terse summary of the claims that your author makes for their topic (e.g. “van Wyhe argues that phrenology became a popular craze in nineteenth-century Britain because...”).

3. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of the thesis. To do this, you’ll be posing the same sorts of questions you ask yourself when framing your research proposal:

  • what primary sources are available/used? Are these sources (either types or archived collections of) which have gone largely unexamined until now? If the sources are not new in themselves, have they been interpreted by a fresh pair of eyes and put to innovative use?

  • what is the relation of the book to the wider historiography on its main topic? Has the author filled a gap in our knowledge? To what extent does the book seek to revise our current understanding?

  • how well is the book put together? In other words, there’s a place for modest comment on style, structure, format and presentation if these help or hinder the book’s argument; its coherence, comprehensibility, and comprehensiveness.

4. Remember the word-limit. Part of the art of a review is exactly that – writing a short, incisive critique. Waffle is probably a sign that you haven’t reached the heart of the matter.

  • paraphrase tersely and use direct quotes from the book very sparingly, ‘anchoring’ these with accurate, precise page references in brackets in the main text.

  • you may occasionally need to refer to other book(s) on the same topic, especially when sketching out the wider historiography. You may make careful use of footnote references to refer to these other books.

5. Head your review with details of author, title, and publication. That way you can refer to the book/author under discussion succinctly thereafter.

In modelling your review on those in an academic journal, it may help to search a journals database, bibliography or archive for the review of another title you have read recently. Indeed, you may find reviews for your HIST2133 monograph – by all means read these, but do so in accordance with academic integrity/referencing protocols.

Suggested titles are listed below in tutorial order. Therefore, they are also in broadly chronological sequence. You can often use tools like the Library of Congress online catalogue or Google Books to compare your options in terms of content and coverage. If you wish to browse and select your own title, you might also begin with the ‘Race in Action’ section of the weekly bibliographies. You would need to select a monograph study, not a collection of scholarly essays.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 04/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 18/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3

Research Proposal

1000 words

10% of the final grade.

Due: Thursday 04 April (@5pm)

Your final Research Essay will not be accepted unless you have previously submitted a proposal. Keep in mind that our tutorial Workshops will be an opportunity to elaborate on the written advice which follows. 


You should write a prose description, with a preliminary bibliography appended, which considers the following issues:

1. What’s your essay about? This is the core of any proposal. You must outline the question, or hypothesis, for investigation and explain your anticipated approach, or ‘angle’.

2. Who has considered the topic, if not the question, before? You will have to survey existing, recent work on your topic. This survey is sometimes referred to more generally as a literature review. 

Though your preparatory work may adopt this technique, or your working bibliography is annotated, your final proposal should avoid merely itemising/summarising books in turn: “Historian X has said ‘abc’ about my topic”... By contrast, Historian Y contends ‘123’.” This is not an effective literature review. 

Instead, your proposal should identify the main contours or common themes of current, scholarly understanding on your topic and then start to position your essay. In other words, will your essay fill a gap in our understanding? Or are there, in fact, problems with existing historiography such that your essay aims to revise, to correct, a prevalent misunderstanding in the historiography?

3. How has this question been answered before, if at all? In short, what primary sources will you be using to answer your question. This is critical, as a research essay, by definition, must rely mainly on your interpretation of original materials rather than present a synthesis of secondary analysis written by others. You may find that your primary sources have not been used to address your question before. Or it could be that you are aiming to ‘re-read’ sources already connected with your topic. Either way, you need to describe your archive by indicating your main type of material, give a ball-park estimate of its size (e.g. are you reading a handful of texts closely or will you be data-mining newspapers from a particular decade?), note how/where you will access this material.

4. Proposals can also sometimes benefit from considering Why it matters? (i.e. discussing broader historiographical or theoretical issues), or What other connections could I make? (i.e. speculate on additional evidence you might track down, or how your approach might draw on those used in another field of history or another discipline – say sociology or literary studies).

5. Your preliminary bibliography should provide full details for at least 5 primary sources and 5 secondary sources (the latter published mainly after c.1990). If your topic is such that fewer items are listed, the proposal should offer an explanation. Your bibliography does not count towards the word-limit associated with this exercise.

Other pointers:

  • While you need not read every page of every source at this stage, it’s critical you do a fair amount of research in preparing your proposal. Do not attempt to write the proposal by using one source or by ‘re-writing’ out of another book. 

  • By all means use the weekly reading lists supplied above as a starting point, and consider a line of enquiry which engages with one of the broader questions raised in lectures. However, your submission needs to describe specific parameters and research strategies. Likewise, the bibliography must be a considered one – not the “top ten” Google hits on the general subject.

  • It’s also important that you make effective use of material available in, or (digital) resources accessible from, Canberra. You should speak with me if you will have access to collections elsewhere; in Sydney or Melbourne for instance. 

What happens about/after submission of the Proposal?

  • I will be assuming that everyone reads my comments on their proposal before they get stuck into the essay itself. In some cases, I may indicate in writing that individual consultation is required to discuss modification of the research before it goes any further/is considered “approved”.

  • Sessions have been set aside for group/individual discussion of your research. Ideally, you should be able to ‘network’ with those working on similar topics... even arrange to read each other’s work as it progresses. 

  • It’s inevitable for your research to shift a little as it progresses – sources are added, or subtracted if you find some are more worthy of close reading; the emphasis changes (your geographic or temporal coverage may expand/contract); your final analysis may not be quite what you expected. If, however, you find yourself wanting to rewrite your question completely or, more critically, change topics, then you should contact me as soon as possible.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 13/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Tutorial presentation

10% of the final grade

Due: during May (13-31) tutorials, provisional schedule to be released in week 7.

You will give a short seminar presentation on your work in the closing weeks of the semester (5%). Depending on the preferences of the tutorial groups, this presentation might be: 

  • an 8-10 minute oral summary of your work, followed by questions
  • a joint presentation on related research topics by two (or more) people – a panel discussion
  • a group critique of pre-circulated material – perhaps a sample of the kind of primary sources you’ve been using, even a draft of your own essay.

We will also arrange attendance at a seminar where you will be a discussant, that is, raise questions, 1 act as commentator on a classmate’s presentation, or otherwise participate as an informed observer (5%). Some credit will also be available for responding to presentations online (e.g. by posting comments or further questions to the Wattle forum, usually within 24 hours of the presentation).  

If you are absent from seminars, we may need to consider alternative forms of participation (e.g. a Powerpoint uploaded to Wattle, to which 2-3 members of the group respond online). Supporting documentation (e.g. a medical certificate) would be expected.  

Assessment Task 4

Value: 60 %
Due Date: 11/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 4

Research Essay

3000 words worth 60% of the final grade.

Due: Tuesday 11 June @5pm.

It’s critical that you treat the other, earlier coursework requirements as preparatory work for this Essay.


Workshops early in the semester should help you get to grips with writing a research essay, particularly one based in this field of History. You will also have opportunities to discuss your work once it gets under way. However, I offer these initial strategies for formulating a topic:

1. ‘Aim small’; or remember that race can operate on any scale. Realize that you probably won’t have the time or space to consider densely researched fields or broad periods (e.g. Nazi anti-semitism or Enlightenment orientalism). Take your interest in a particular period or situation and look for ways to focus it into something manageable. Focus strategies include:

  • selecting a particular source or genre (e.g. early Boy Scout manuals or children’s stories for insight into the links between British empire and racial thinking?)
  • choosing a group that is still fairly marginal in historiography (e.g. racist perceptions of the Roma in Nazi-occupied Europe?)
  • concentrating on a period/place that is less likely to have received much attention (e.g. ‘white’ attitudes to the Japanese c.1875-1925-compare c.1930-45; British attitudes to Jews in the early 20th century).
  • examining a particular locale or community and the role of racial divisions therein (e.g. the Victorian goldfields).
  • picking a particular thinker and exploring how his or her racial ideas were the product of a specific socio-cultural context. 
  • tracing the intersection of racial thinking with other inequalities (e.g. class-ed, gender-ed, sex-ed) and a context with which you’re already familiar (e.g. is it significant that suffragettes were ‘white’?).

2. ‘Think, process’; or ask how and why racial thinking has operated. We will stress throughout the course that race/racism involve cultural processes of social discrimination, processes that upon closer examination are often incomplete and contradictory. Therefore it should be possible to compare and contrast how this process manifested itself in different times and places. For instance:

  • what about manifestations of anti-racism; how did people combat racism (and was their position truly anti-racial, did it reject notions of race completely or merely try to redefine racial ‘characters’?). 
  • how did those oppressed by racism view their situation? (e.g. Anti-slavery-abolitionist views of Africans in 19th century; Black Power in 1960s America).
  • what about situations we’ve not had time to consider directly in the course but derive from the thinking and practices we’ve discussed (e.g. early nineteenth-century Australia; later twentieth-century Rwanda – which is to say think of sites of European colonialism, the attempt to build ‘neo-Europes’ abroad in places like South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, or India). Alternatively, you might consider a comparative history such as the practice of eugenics in Latin versus North America, asking why an array of ideas about race could co-exist.
  • we’ve focussed on how and why western Europeans and their descendants have adopted jaundiced views of non-Europeans. What about reversing the perspective? (e.g. how have the Chinese viewed Europeans and can these views be considered an ‘eastern’ racism?)

More schematically, when thinking of race as a social construct or ideological category, ask:

WHAT physical contrasts were being drawn?

WHO was drawing (attention to) these distinctions? 

HOW were these contrasts being drawn? 

WHY were these distinctions given meaning, and to what ends?

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) all submission must be through Turnitin.

For this, you use the Wattle course site. On its main page you will see

  • instructions regarding the use of Turnitin for all assessable coursework submissions, and links to Turnitin dropboxes for each of the assignments. Turnitin tracks submissions with unique identifiers, so you should omit your name, student number, coversheet etc.

Any student wishing an exemption from the use of Turnitin should 

  • write to the course convenor at least 2 weeks prior to the submission date for the assignment.
  • be prepared to submit copies of all references cited in their essay and/or research notes in the case of archival sources.

Hardcopy Submission

Not required.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Graded work will be returned via Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Work cannot be amended and submitted for re-grading/additional credit. Graded work, particularly the Proposal (assessment task #2), can, however, be revised for further comment.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Mark Dawson

Research Interests

Early modern Anglo/European social and cultural history

Dr Mark Dawson

Tuesday 10:00 11:00
Wednesday 15:00 16:00
Dr Mark Dawson

Research Interests

Dr Mark Dawson

Tuesday 10:00 11:00
Wednesday 15:00 16:00

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions