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.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- explain the origin and development of racial thinking in Europe, the Americas, and Australasia;
- critically evaluate scholarship on the history of race and racism, the human body, and the social/life sciences;
- locate and analyse primary sources to generate insights into the past;
- complete an individual research project; and
- articulate their critical understanding of the past and relate it to both the wider historiography and present-day concerns.
- Presentation, 10 mins (10) [LO 1,2,5]
- Book review exercise, 1000 words (20) [LO 1,2,5]
- Research proposal, 1000 words (10) [LO 1,3]
- Research essay, 4000 words (This task takes the place of a final exam it will be due in the first week of the scheduled examination period) (60) [LO 1,4]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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Workload130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials and/or online activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
[Not applicable – course amendment]
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.