This course examines the role of history and historical research in the public sphere. It is concerned with the way audiences remember, imagine and in other ways engage with the past, whether it be as tourists at a theme park, visitors to a museum or war memorial, or as media consumers, broadly defined. Many of our postgraduate students are already contributing to areas such as documentary making, museum curatorship, oral history, or to heritage management. The course is aimed at such professionals, or at anyone wishing to seriously explore how narratives about the past are communicated publicly. The course will involve analysis of films, broadcasts and critical literature, and include site visits to major cultural institutions in Canberra. Students will have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate practical skills in interviewing or other forms of historical communication such as audio-visual presentation or curatorial design.
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:
- Demonstrate a deep understanding of how public spaces, institutions and media (broadly defined) function as sites for the dissemination of historical narratives;
- Produce a highly developed analysis of how historical narratives are used in the public realm;
- Demonstrate in their writing an ability to interpret or read, and reflect critically upon, non-written historical evidence that might include audio and visual sources and objects in collections;
- Understand how digitisation affects the craft of the historian and show an advanced understanding of contemporary literature pertaining to digitisation and the humanities; and,
- Demonstrate that they have attained research skills of a professional standard that can be used in developing historical narratives in media other than conventional writing.
Indicative AssessmentA research project, of 20 minutes duration, that uses non-print media to communicate a historical narrative, 40 % or a written treatment/design for a documentary, exhibition, memorial or other historical narrative in non-print media. Both options will include a written exegesis, explaining the rationale for the project and the research behind it. (1500 words) (LOs 1-5).
A research essay of 4000 words, 50% (LOs 1-5)
Class participation/presentations, 10% (LOs 1, 2 and 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) 30 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 18 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; and
b) 100 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsKen Burns (director), The Civil War (1990) (TV documentary); Brett Morgen (director), Chicago 10: Speak Your Peace (2007) (documentary film); Martin Thomas (writer/producer), This is Jimmie Barker (2000) (radio documentary).
Assumed KnowledgeStudents are expected to be able to reflect critically on primary historical evidence and to apply the work of historians and other theorists in interpreting it. A background of undergraduate study in visual art, art history, cinema theory, anthropology, media studies, memory studies, curatorship or digital humanities is desirable.
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- 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.