• Class Number 5887
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Online
  • Mode of Delivery Online
    • Prof Laurajane Smith
    • Prof Laurajane Smith
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

This course provides an in depth analysis of the field of heritage and museum studies and explores some of the conceptual, political and ethical issues faced by those working within and researching in the area of heritage and museums. The course questions dominant perceptions that heritage is simply about the collection and management of artifacts, sites and monuments and challenges students to engage with understanding heritage as an area of cultural and political practice. Students are introduced to the key intellectual frameworks that allow us to understand heritage as a form of cultural practice, while each week students are introduced to particular issues or problems that heritage represents and are encouraged to explore and debate their meanings, consequences and, where relevant, their resolutions.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. identify and judge the utility of different conceptualisations of 'heritage' and understand how they come to be deployed within international and national cultural policies and practices;
  2. analyse the role heritage and museums play in the politics of recognition, and remembering and forgetting at both national and sub-national levels;
  3. analyse the diverse ways that heritage is perceived and valued by different interests and assess the consequences of this for policy and practice;
  4. identify and analyse the power relations that shape contemporary heritage and museum practices; and
  5. critically assess the role that heritage and museum experts play in the mediation of conflicts over heritage and museum management and interpretation.

Research-Led Teaching


Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources


Smith, L. 2006 Uses of Heritage, London: Routledge

Harrison, R. 2013 Heritage: Critical Approaches, London: Routledge

Lowenthal, D. 2015 The Past is a Foreign Country – Revisited, Cambridge University Press

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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 Lecture: What is heritage?
2 Lecture and tutorial: Remove or preserve? When is something no longer heritage?
3 Lecture and tutorial: Critical approaches to heritage 1
4 Lecture and tutorial: Critical approaches to heritage 2
5 Lecture and tutorial: Global Heritage
6 Lecture and tutorial: Politics of Recognition: Heritage and communities of interest
7 Lecture and tutorial: Heritage and Indigenous Rights Minor essay due start of week
8 Lecture and tutorial: Heritage as affective practice
9 Lecture and tutorial: Heritage audiences, mindless dupes or mindful heritage makers?
10 Lecture and tutorial: Heritage, Nostalgia and Populism.
11 Lecture and tutorial: : Heritage and Climate Change Guest lecturer
12 Lecture and tutorial: Critical Heritage Studies and its implications for professional practice Major essay due 5/11/21

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Participation 10 % * * 1-5
Discussion forum posting and leading debate 15 % * * 1-5
Minor essay 25 % 20/03/2021 08/10/2021 1, 2
Major essay 50 % 05/11/2021 22/11/2021 3, 4, 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1-5


Students are expected to do, as a minimum, the required readings for each tutorial and to come to the tutorial (either in class or via zoom) prepared to discuss the set topic. Students are also expected to contribute to the weekly discussion forum, which will continue the discussions from the tutorials. You will be assessed on the extent of your engagement with each of the topics and your constructive and critical contributions to class discussions and the discussion forum across the tutorial series. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1-5

Discussion forum posting and leading debate

In the first week of class students will be allocated tutorial topics for which they will be lead discussant, their role will be to start and then facilitate debate on a week’s set topic on the discussion forum.

The lead student or students will post a short commentary on the required readings for that week and may either: a) pose a question deriving from these readings; b) respond to the provocations set in the course outline for each week’s topic; c) and/or summarise the discussion at the tutorial session in such a way as to facilitate further debate. The aim is to facilitate constructive and respectful debate and discussion on the discussion forum. This positing must occur on the Wednesday following the tutorial session.

The lead student or students will be expected to respond constructively and respectfully to fellow students and tutor and facilitate ongoing debate on the discussion forum for the duration of the week (ie from Wednesday to the following Monday).

Word minimum: 250, no maximum.

Value: 15%

Presentation requirements: The initial positing must occur on the Wednesday immediately following the tutorial session.

Feedback date: 2 weeks after completion of the discussion topic. 

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 20/03/2021
Return of Assessment: 08/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2

Minor essay

You are required to choose a topic from the list below and produce a 2000 word essay written to the highest academic standards with full and complete references (reference lists will not count towards the word count).

You must choose a topic from the list below:

1.        Is there an Australian ‘Authorised Heritage Discourse’ and, if so, how may we identify it?

2. What was the British ‘heritage industry’ debate, what legacies does it have for contemporary understandings of heritage?

3.        Traditional definitions of heritage stress the materiality of heritage; however, a number of commentators have argued that heritage may be best understood as a process or as a ‘verb’. That is, as something that is done, a process of making the past meaningful in the present. Compare and contrast these definitions and discuss and assess the utility of the idea that heritage is a verb.

4.        Can the concept of universal heritage value be defended?

5.       Stuart Hall (1999: 4) observed, “The National Heritage is a powerful source of [cultural] meanings. It follows that those who cannot see themselves reflected in its mirror cannot properly ‘belong'”. The dominance of statues of ‘dead white men’ are argued to render invisible those whose histories and contemporary social experiences are not mirrored by their representations.

Statues of Captain Cook abound in Australia; what, in the context ongoing claims for Indigenous sovereignty, should we do with these statues?


Required and supplementary readings listed under tutorial topics 2-6 will be particularly relevant for answering the above questions.

This assessment addresses learning outcomes 1 and 2.

Word limit: 2000

Value: 25%

Presentation requirements: The paper should be written following a standard essay structure in which a clear argument is developed (introduction, body, and conclusion). Make sure your name is on the paper when you submit it!

Estimated return date: 2 weeks after submission

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 05/11/2021
Return of Assessment: 22/11/2021
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4, 5

Major essay

You are required to carry out independent research and produce a 3000 word essay written to the highest academic standards with full and complete references (reference lists will not count towards the word count).


You must choose a topic from the list below:


1.        Heritage experts are just another interest group in conflicts over the disposition of material culture. Drawing on examples from anywhere in the world, critically discuss and evaluate this statement.


2.        Critically evaluate how an understanding of the politics of recognition, as defined by Nancy Fraser, may help us to understand the nature of heritage and the social/cultural and political conflicts that surround its management and conservation.


3.        ‘Those museum personnel who believe that a museum’s mission is to communicate or transmit specific messages, feelings, or other experiences will need to appreciate that in general only visitors already attuned to seeking these experiences are likely to find them’ (Pekarick and Schreiber 2012: 495). Discuss and assess the implications of this statement for understanding the core assumption that museums are instruments of education and learning. 


Pekarick, A.J and Schreiber, J.B. 2012. The power of expectation: A research note. Curator, 55(4):487-496.


4.        “Nostalgia is a sentiment of loss and displacement, but it is also a romance with one’s own fantasy” S. Boym (2001) The Future of Nostalgia, p. XIII

Nostalgia is intertwined with heritage; can this emotion of loss and longing inform our understanding of heritage and its meanings in and for the present? Or does nostalgia simply lead to maudlin fantasy making of no consequence?

5.        How are forms of heritage mobilised as resources in the context of both the rise of right-wing populism and counter movements such as Black Lives Matter, Indigenous sovereignty, and climate activism?

6.        Heritage is both physically threatened by climate change and an important resource for understanding the significance of environmental and cultural change brought about by climate change and associated phenomena such as pandemics. Drawing on the relevant literature, review the variety of ways that heritage becomes entangled in climate change debates and responses. What do you identify as the key challenges for heritage/museum professionals in this context?

7.        Write a reflexive essay that responds to an issue of your choice raised in the course and consider how debates in the literature around that issue may inform or alter your professional practice in the heritage and/or museum sector. [Note: this essay may only be attempted once you have spoken to, and gained consent from, Laurajane].


Readings for the major essay – use the course readings as a starting point to explore the topic you have chosen. I will then expect you to have explored and found your own further readings. We can discuss in tutorials how you might go about researching and finding extra readings for your essay.


This assessment addresses learning outcomes 3, 4 and 5.

 Word limit: 3000

Value: 50%

Presentation requirements: The paper should be written following a standard essay structure in which a clear argument is developed (introduction, body, and conclusion). Make sure your name is on the paper when you submit it!

Estimated return date: 3 weeks after submission


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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) 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

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. 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.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will either be returned in hard copy in class or emailed to you on the advertised return date. 

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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.

Resubmission of Assignments

Assignments will not normally be resubmitted. 

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 Laurajane Smith

Research Interests

Heritage and museum studies

Prof Laurajane Smith

Tuesday 14:00 13:00
Tuesday 14:00 15:00
Prof Laurajane Smith

Research Interests

Prof Laurajane Smith

Tuesday 14:00 13:00
Tuesday 14:00 15:00

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