This course traces the history of Western exploration of the Americas, Australasia, Africa, Antarctica and beyond from the 15th to the 20th centuries. It will examine the ways in which Western travellers and explorers ventured out into the world beyond Europe, and how they sought to make sense of the environments and peoples they encountered. In this course we will study the diverse commercial, scientific, national, and personal motives explorers had for venturing out into uncharted parts of the world, including the search for imagined El Dorados as well as other fabled lands such as Terra Australis Incognita and Timbuktu. Themes covered in this course include: the interconnections between exploration and natural history including how ‘specimens’ collected by explorers influenced western scientific knowledge and taxonomy; the influence of technology and media on facilitating exploration and producing ever expanding audiences; and a critical evaluation of the idea of the ‘lone explorer’ by tracing how these travellers were self-fashioned, depicted in popular culture, and highlighting their often unacknowledged colleagues and intermediaries who assisted them.
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 critical understanding of key themes and issues in the study of global exploration
- Critically analyse the relationship between exploration and imperial interests in different national and regional contexts
- Examine and analyse primary sources to illuminate course themes
- Engage critically with the relevant historiography
- Demonstrate advanced communication skills
- Conduct independent research and analysis
Indicative AssessmentMinor essay (2000 words, 35%) [LOs 1, 2, 3, 4,5]
Research essay (3500 words, 55%) [LOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,6]
Oral and/or written contribution to class activities 10% [LOs 1, 2, 5]
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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 b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Prescribed TextsWeekly readings available through Wattle.
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