• Offered by School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Gender Studies
  • Areas of interest Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, History, Literature
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

This course is concerned with the cultural politics of memory and trauma. Whose memories are sought, believed and commemorated in the public sphere? What problems do traumatic events present for those attempting to commemorate or represent them? Is trauma a useful cross-cultural concept? We will begin by tracing the history of the concept of trauma in psychoanalysis, medicine and popular culture. Next, students will be introduced to theories of memory, including methods for studying memory in national and transnational contexts. Students will also be introduced to concepts of testimony and witnessing, and explore their relation to memory. We will study the cultural politics of trauma and memory with a particular focus on the Holocaust and the Stolen Generations, with some attention to other sites of conflict. Texts for study may include films, memoir, graphic narrative, testimonies, memorials and human rights reports as well as secondary literature.

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. Understand the concepts of ‘trauma’ and ‘memory’ as they are used in the media, in contemporary culture, and in Humanities and Social Science scholarship today and why  these concepts have become so prevalent in contemporary culture;
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of different approaches (psychoanalytic, discursive, feminist) to the concept of trauma;
  3. Identify and describe differences in personal memory, cultural memory, and collective memory, and in national and transnational memory;
  4. Apply key concepts to analyse specific texts and case studies;
  5. Identify examples of and explain how memory is mediated through cultural genres such as film and memoir, and institutions such as museums or legal trials; and
  6. Demonstrate advanced understanding of key debates about the representation of traumatic historical events, especially the Holocaust and Stolen Generations.

Indicative Assessment

Comparative Essay, 1000 words (20%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2]
6 Short Responses, 250 words each (5% each for a total of 30%) [Learning Outcomes 1-6]
Final Essay, 2000 words plus Abstract of 300 words (30%) [Learning Outcomes 1-6]
Tutorial presentation, 5 minutes, (10%) with unmarked hurdle requirement submission of slides/text [Learning Outcomes 1-3]
Tutorial preparation and participation (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1-5]

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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 38 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 18 hours of lectures and 11 hours of tutorials and 9 hours of film screenings.
b) 92 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed GEND2021.

Preliminary Reading

Didier Fassin and Richard Rechtman, The Empire of Trauma (2009).
Roger Luckhurst, The Trauma Question (2008)


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $3630
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5580
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.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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