• Offered by Department of Pacific Affairs
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Pacific Studies
  • Areas of interest Pacific Studies

Is Australia just one big Pacific Island? In this course we tease this core question by exploring the history of Australia and Oceania – with a special focus on the island Pacific – through the ‘long’ 19th and 20th centuries. As a preliminary, we look at Australia and the Pacific in ‘deep time’, outlining the initial waves of human settlement and prehistoric mobility, before tackling major themes of Australia’s interactions with the island world: through European expansion and first encounters; the thickening relationships of trade, missionisation and formal colonialism in the 19th century; the world wars; the post war period; the era of independence; and developments of the late 20th and early 21st centuries – including Australia’s ‘interventions’ in the Pacific, the growth of Australia’s own Pasifika populations, and changing perceptions of Australia in the region.

This course aims to develop a wider understanding of Australia’s shared history with Oceania and the evolution of the Pacific community of which Australia is part. It will highlight the Pacific’s impacts on Australia and the multiplicity of Australia’s past and present engagements with the island region.

The course caters for students curious about Australia’s place in the world, the histories and cultures of Oceania, the ‘framing’ of national, regional and international identities, and Pacific views –from within and outside Australia – on Australia itself. It will also appeal to students who want to trace the genealogies of current national and regional debates in international relations, security, aid, and immigration that relate to Oceania.

The course will help students develop their skills in critical thinking, in oral and written communication, and independent research.

It will be useful for students who wish to study further in Pacific studies, history, politics, development, international relations and related fields.

‘Australia and Oceania’ is available both online and on campus.

Learning Outcomes

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

On successfully completing the course, a student will be able to

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of key historical developments
  2. Identify and assess different viewpoints and angles of interpretation from selected primary and secondary materials and place these in context
  3. Conduct independent research
  4. Communicate findings and conclusions clearly
  5. Support a convincing argument or thesis in essay format.

Other Information

This is a co-taught course. Any cap on enrolment in one course applies to both courses combined.

Indicative Assessment

  1. 20%: 5 reading logs posted on Wattle (these also serve as contributions to discussion) (LOs 1, 2, 4)
  2. 20%: short essay of 1,500 words (LOs 1, 2, 4, 5)
  3. 30%: long research essay 2,000 words (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  4. 30%: exam (with take-home option) (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

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.


2 hours lecture per week; 1 hour tutorial or online discussion; 7 hours private study

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed at least 24 units of university courses. This course is incompatible with PASI6002.

You will need to contact the Department of Pacific Affairs to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Readings will be available on Wattle. As preparation, students can consult:

  • Donald Denoon, ‘An Argument for an Australian Federation’, broadcast ABC Radio National 5th Feb 2003 http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/perspective/donald-denoon/3522616
  • Greg Fry ‘Framing this Islands: Knowledge and Power in Changing Australian Images of the South Pacific’, in David Hanlon and Geoffrey M. White (eds) Voyaging through the Contemporary Pacific (Honolulu 2000), 125-140
  • I. C. Campbell, Worlds Apart: A History of the Pacific Islands (Christchurch 2003)




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
2019 $3000
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $4560
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
9392 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person N/A

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