• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject War Studies
  • Areas of interest History, International Relations, Political Sciences
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

Recourse to military conflict both reflects and profoundly shapes societies, has been a major agent in determining how societies have been understood and governed in the modern world, and forms a central element in national identity, memory and memorialisation. This course will examine these inter-relationships through several distinct forms of such conflict, evaluating the ways in which the meanings, capacities and experience of warfare have interacted with social, political and cultural change. Each of these forms – including civil, imperial, colonial, frontier, ‘world’ and ‘total’ wars – offer their own perspective on the dynamic links between war and society, and on the impact of conflict on distinct groups within societies. They also provide a range of ways of studying and assessing the historical significance of modern warfare in general, as well as specific wars and campaigns. We will discuss these perspectives as well as the conflicts themselves, reflecting on the methods and applications of approaches ranging from political history through to the use of material culture, memory and memorialisation in understanding the relationships between war and society.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of major transitions, processes and developments in the relationships between military conflict and society;
  2. utilise case studies of important periods and themes to explore these relationships in depth;
  3. critically reflect upon the range of documentary and other historical resources and historical interpretations;
  4. demonstrate the capacity to conceptualise and/or critically evaluate ways of presenting historical knowledge and perspectives in a variety of forms; and
  5. demonstrate strong research and analytical skills in written and oral form.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Archival Research Essay, 3000 words (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Compulsory Excursion onsite Quiz (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Optional Excursion onsite Quiz (15%) or substitute book review, 2000 words (15%) (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Examination of an object, 1000 words (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  5. Tutorial participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  6. Lecture Engagement- successful completion of in class (multiple choice) quiz for a minimum of 80% of lectures (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  7. Hurdle Statement: Students must attempt all assessment items to pass the course. Failure to submit all assessment items will result in an Incomplete (NCN) even if scores for the other completed components result in a Passing total (50+). In this subject, essay feed back will be provided in written form on a hard copy of the essay. In addition to submitting an essay in Turnitin, students are therefore required to submit a hard copy of the essay to the School of History Office within 24 hours of submitting an essay on Turnitin. This has been approved by the CASS Associate Dean (Education). The date and time of submission on Turnitin will be taken as the date and time of essay submission. (null) [LO null]

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) 36 hours of face-to-face contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities; and

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading, and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

None specified

Preliminary Reading

David Armitage, Civil Wars: A History in Ideas (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017).
James Belich, The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict (AUP: Auckland, 1988).
David Bell, The first total war: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It (Houghton: New York, 2014).
Jeremy Black, The Age of Total War 1860-1945 (New York: Greenwood, 2006).
John Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (Pantheon: New York, 1993).
Roger Chickering (ed), Anticipating Total War: The German and American Experience (CUP: Cambridge, 1999).
John Connor, The Australian Frontier Wars (Sydney: NewSouth, 2002).
Julie K. de Graffenried, Sacrificing Childhood: Children and the Soviet State in the Great Patriotic War (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas 2014).   
Anna Krylova, Soviet Women in Combat. A History of Violence on the Eastern Front (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Franziska Seraphim, War memory and social politics in Japan, 1945-2005 (Boston: HUP, 2006).


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 $3180
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $4890
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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