• Class Number 4725
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Martin Thomas
    • Prof Martin Thomas
  • 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

‘Celebrity: An Unauthorised History’ points a telephoto lens at one of modernity’s most mesmerising and perplexing cultural phenomena: stardom. The course begins and ends in London. We will open in the eighteenth century, when David Garrick, first superstar of the theatre, is treading the boards. The curtain closes in 1997, when the late Princess Diana is became the focus for a world in mourning. Between those two points, this course will drive a wide arc through the interrelated worlds of politics and entertainment, reflecting on forms of celebrity in diverse cultures and contexts. Drawing from historian Fred Inglis' argument that celebrity is a ‘product of culture and technology’, an ‘adhesive’ that pulls together ‘public politics, civil society, and private domestic life’, this journey through the history of celebrity will track the rise of individualism, consumerism, the arrival of mass media and the emerging impact of digital formats and social media. The course shows that celebrity—and our preoccupation with it—reveals much about our society and even more about ourselves.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the factors shaping the cultural phenomenon of celebrity and its iterations over an extended period of history;
  2. explain the influence or impact of those factors and the areas and periods of change associated with them;
  3. assess a range of historiographical approaches to 'celebrity', and to related areas of social and political change;
  4. demonstrate research skills in working with a diversity of historical and secondary sources; and
  5. construct an evidence-based historical argument in a form suitable to its purpose and target audience.

Research-Led Teaching

The Convener is a historian of the modern era, a biographer, and a media practitioner who has recorded oral history and made documentaries for film and radio. The experience of working across media and the practical engagement with life histories in various genres inform the conception of this course and the way it is taught.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Staff Feedback

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

·      Informal feedback in tutorials

·      Informal feedback in individual consultations and meetings

·      Informal feedback on Wattle or via email

  • Formal comments on assignments

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.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 What is celebrity?: Overview, concepts, methods
2 Origins of modern celebrity: The eighteenth century
3 Voyaging into romanticism 13 March: Document Exercise Step 1 - locate documents and upload to Wattle with brief description
4 What the Dickens?: Celebrity and the Victorians Quiz will be available on Wattle - there will be two parts due on 5 April and 3 June
5 Photography and stardom: The rise of new media and the rise and fall of Oscar Wilde To be held during the examination period.
6 Divas and demonstrators: Celebrity during the first wave of feminism 5 April: Quiz Part 1
7 Celluloid madness: The movies
8 Crowds and power in the twentieth century: The great dictators
9 The Fab Four and More: What celebrity reveals about the sixties
10 Celebrity in a decolonising world: Questions of race and empire 13 May: Submit Essay
11 Back to gender: Second-wave feminism
12 Death of a princess and the end of an era 31 May: Quiz Part 2

Tutorial Registration

Tutorials are scheduled for Thursdays 11am to noon. Students will be automatically enrolled in this group. If the number of enrollments justifies a second tutorial, it will be held on Thursday from noon-1 pm,

Venue: Coombs Seminar Room F

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Document analysis (1000 words) 20 % 09/04/2019 26/04/2019 1,2,3,4,5
Essay (2500 words) 40 % 13/05/2019 30/05/2019 1,2,3,4,5
Tutorial participation 10 % 25/02/2019 31/05/2019 1,2,3,5
Online quiz 10 % 31/05/2019 07/06/2019 1,2
Open-book examination 20 % 03/06/2019 04/07/2019 1,2,3,5

* 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.


Participation is assessed on the quality of your contribution to tutorial participation as indicated by your knowledge and interpretation of the set readings, your understanding and evaluation of the lectures and your overall engagement with the topic. Attendance at classes is not in itself sufficient to gain a pass mark in participation.


There will be a two-hour examination to which you may bring books and notes, but not tablets or other electronic devices. The exam will consist of two questions. The first will test your knowledge of the course as a whole. The second question will focus on the final three weeks of the course.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 09/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 26/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Document analysis (1000 words)

Locate and upload documents to Wattle by 14 March. Written analysis to be submitted by 9 April.

See Course Outline for specific directions.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 13/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 30/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Essay (2500 words)

Research essay (2500 words) due 13 May on a specified question.

See Course Outline for specific directions.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 25/02/2019
Return of Assessment: 31/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Tutorial participation

Details below

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 31/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 07/06/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2

Online quiz

The quiz will test your knowledge of material covered in the lectures. There will be two parts to the quiz. You will have five days to complete each part.

Part 1 due by 5 April

Part 2 due by 31 May

Assessment Task 5

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 03/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Open-book examination

The exam will occur during the examination period on a date to be announced. Details below.

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) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

No submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date will be permitted. If an assessment task is not submitted by the due date, a mark of 0 will be awarded.


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 after 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.

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.

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).

Prof Martin Thomas

Research Interests

Biography; Media history; Australian History; Cross-cultural contact; Exploration; Oral history; Documentary film.

Prof Martin Thomas

Tuesday 14:30 17:00
Tuesday 14:30 17:00
Prof Martin Thomas

Research Interests

Prof Martin Thomas

Tuesday 14:30 17:00
Tuesday 14:30 17:00

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