• Class Number 4112
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Alexander Cook
    • Alexander Cook
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 21/02/2022
  • Class End Date 27/05/2022
  • Census Date 31/03/2022
  • Last Date to Enrol 28/02/2022
SELT Survey Results

This course will help you to become a better historian and a better analyst of historical research, narratives and representations. It examines the principles, strategies and assumptions underlying different forms of history. It also explores current debates about the discipline and its future development. The course focuses on the development of historical practices over the past 250 years, and the character of the 'modern' discipline, but this process will be explored in the context of longer-term practices across time and between cultures. The course will encourage you to consider the social functions of historical writing as well as to explore the methods and models employed by historians within different traditions and schools of historical thought.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. comprehend and constructively debate key philosophical and methodological issues in the study of history;
  2. identify and analyse critically the methods employed by different historians in the past and today;
  3. identify and critically analyse the assumptions and premises embedded in written, visual or audio representations of the past;
  4. construct and sustain arguments in oral and written form about the strengths and weakness of particular approaches to history; and
  5. explain in oral and written form how the history and theory of histories might inform their own research and communication practices.

Additional Course Costs

Students will need access to a computer in order to access course materials, to prepare and submit written work and to access lecture recordings and tutorials on occasions when they may be unable to participate in live classes.

Required Resources

Reading materials for tutorials will be made available through Wattle free of charge. Students are expected to have this material available to them in tutorials – either in electronic or paper format. Other materials necessary to complete assignments for this course are available through the ANU library, and can be supplemented via the Australian National Library and a range of online sources.

Students seeking some introduction to the topic prior to commencement, might wish to consult some of the following:

Burrows, J. A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century (London: Allen Lane, 2007).

Iggers, G. et al. (eds.) A Global History of Modern Historiography (London: Routledge, 2008 and new edition 2017).

Tosh, J. The Pursuit of History: Aims, Methods and New Directions in the Study of Modern History (London: Longman, 2015)

Woolf, D. A Concise History of History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019)

Staff Feedback

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

  •  summative feedback on all assignments, including a marking rubric, a comment and a mark out of 100
  •  group feedback on assignments, indicating common areas of achievement or difficulty
  • verbal formative feedback from their tutor at any stage during the course by making an appointment or attending office hours to discuss broad course questions or techniques for approaching assignments.

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.

Other Information

Referencing in essays

All essays must be annotated in a coherent, logical and consistent way. Failure to do so may incur a penalty. Students are advised to examine the School of History’s Guide to the Writing, Preparation and Presentation of Essays (available on the Wattle site for this course) for guidance on the preparation of essays and the preferred referencing system within the School. 

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction: What is history? And other big questions
2 The origins of ‘modern history’ in the West
3 Karl Marx and Marxist historical thought
4 Structuralism, the Annales School and the Scales of Time
5 Power, Knowledge and the Subject: Foucault
6 Symbols, Practices and Culture: The uses of Anthropology First Essay due end term 1 (date TBC)
7 Feminist History and the Concept of Gender
8 De-centring Europe: Postcolonialism and rethinking the past.
9 Oral history and memory
10 Public and Popular History: Memory, Identity, Politics
11 The Scope and Scale of History in the 21st Century
12 History Today and the Future of the Past Final essay due early in exam period (date TBC)

Tutorial Registration

Available on Wattle from 9am, Monday of the week prior to the commencement of semester.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
First Essay 35 % 01/04/2022 26/04/2022 1, 2, 3, 4
Major Essay 55 % 06/06/2022 * 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Contribution to group learning 10 % * * 1,2,3,5

* 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.



Tutorials offer you the opportunity to engage actively with the course content with both your peers and your tutor. To be effective, tutorials must operate in a spirit of free discussion and open enquiry. Debate is welcome. Discussion should be respectful. As the ANU statement on Academic Freedom states ‘we are a community of robust debate, unafraid of uncomfortable ideas’. Tutorials model this community, seeking to ‘pursue knowledge, speak and write without unreasonable restriction.’ To facilitate this freedom to speak, tutorial discussion operates under the ‘Chatham House Rule’, where what is said within the tutorial may be discussed outside it, but without identifying the speaker. 



The School of History normally expects in-person attendance at all lectures (COVID permitting). Lectures are never simply background information. They are a central part of your learning experience. As one of the critical ways in which we recognise and enact the social nature of learning, they are a forum for the regular meeting of a community of scholars. In lectures, you develop the skills of synthesising information presented in real time, and the ability to take concise notes and develop questions. They are also an important mode of dissemination and debate in academic research. The lecture is in these ways often a foundational stage in the processing of information and evaluation of ideas and is carefully linked to the tutorial program. Indeed, you may well find you cannot understand tutorial content without attending, or listening to, lectures beforehand. 

Lectures in this course are normally delivered live and students who can attend are strongly encourage to do so. Lectures will be recorded for those who are unable to attend for any reason. If public health considerations require a move to online lectures, these will be made available to students in time for them to listen to them prior to tutorials.


Assessment Task 1

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 01/04/2022
Return of Assessment: 26/04/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

First Essay

Length: 1500 words

Value: 35%

Due date: End of term 1 (TBC)

Expected return date: Week 8

Essay questions will be made available to students at the beginning of the semester. Students will also have an option to develop their own question in consultation with the course convenor.

Students will receive grades for their written work, based on their demonstration of research effort, analytical skill, critical thinking, editorial polish and academic honesty.

When essays are returned, they will receive feedback which will include comments, a mark out of 100, and a rubric set out as follows:

Research: Your essay will be better if you are aware of, and have considered, the broad contours of scholarly debate regarding your topic (i.e. what is the current consensus? if there isn’t one, why not? what are the different, competing views? etc.). The essay should demonstrate appropriate research, relevant to the question, that extends beyond textbooks, general surveys, course readings and lecture notes.

Analysis: Your essay should identify and engage with the main issues raised by the question and the relevant debates on the topic (assuming they exist). It should demonstrate an ability to define concepts, analyse arguments, and engage critically with the ideas and arguments of others.

Argument: Your essay should set out a clear and convincing argument that provides a coherent response to the question. You should assess debate on the topic where appropriate and construct arguments to support particular positions, or to develop a new position. You should support that position with evidence drawn from your research. How well you make an argument is more important than what you choose to argue (though some arguments may be easier to make effectively than others).

Structure: Your essay should have a clear introduction which explains the scope of the essay, outlines its approach and/or summarizes its argument. This paragraph should map out how the essay addresses the question and how the rest of the essay will unfold. The body of the essay should have a clear logic to its order. Each paragraph should develop a single idea or address a particular issue. The first sentence or two of a paragraph should indicate clearly what the paragraph will be about. Your essay’s concluding paragraph might offer a final recap of the argument, it might summarize the key points, and/or it might hint at some broader issues raised by the argument.

Presentation: Good expression, good referencing practice and effective editing can make a huge difference to the impression created by your work. Similar arguments can appear more convincing when they are well expressed and supported with material drawn effectively from appropriate sources. We look for active language, unhindered by awkward or unnecessary phrases; use of paragraphs with clear topic sentences; and consistent, informative footnotes accompanied by a clear bibliography. Allow yourself time to edit. 

Please note: The various components of assessment listed in the rubric do not have equal weight. Calculating your grade is not a matter of adding up the ticks, or supplying 10 marks for presentation and 20 marks for analysis etc. Students may be able to compensate for defects in one area of the table by high performance in another. The rubric is designed to help you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your work, not to give you a mechanical breakdown of your grade. 


ExcellentVery goodGoodSatisfactoryUnsatisfactory






Assessment Task 2

Value: 55 %
Due Date: 06/06/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Major Essay

Length: 3000 words

Value: 55%

Due date: Early in exam period (date TBC)

Expected return date: Final essay results and comments will be available after final course results have been released to students.

Essay questions will be made available to students at the beginning of the semester. Students will also have an option to develop their own question in consultation with the course convenor.

Assessment Criteria – Written Work

Students will receive grades for their written work, based on their demonstration of research effort, analytical skill, critical thinking, editorial polish and academic honesty.

When essays are returned, they will receive feedback which will include comments, a mark out of 100, and a rubric set out in the same way as the one for the first essay.


ExcellentVery GoodGoodSatisfactoryUnsatisfactory






Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Contribution to group learning

The quality of any course you undertake at University depends upon a collaborative effort between staff and all the students taking the course. By contributing to the course, in the form of keeping up with lectures, doing the readings, attending tutorials and participating in group or online discussion, you are helping yourself and other students to get the most from the course. We assess students’ contribution to the course via participation in group activities in order to encourage all participants to help to make this course the best it can be. Such assessment also allows for recognition of certain forms of non-written contribution to the course, reflecting the range of skills students bring with them.

Your ‘contribution’ mark for this course will be determined by the quality and regularity of your contribution and participation. Attendance at tutorials and lectures is expected but it is insufficient to procure a pass mark for the contribution component of the course. You will be expected to have read the required readings for each week and to participate in an informed way in group discussions and activities.

You cannot, however, participate in tutorials if you are absent. Absence from more than three tutorials over the course of the semester, without appropriate documentation, will automatically result in a fail grade for this component of the assessment.

In addition to tutorial contributions, students are also encouraged to contribute to the online class forum.

Contribution marks will be allocated based on the following principles:


Attends class regularly and always contributes to discussion by raising thoughtful questions, analysing relevant issues, building on others’ ideas, synthesizing across readings and discussions, expanding the class perspective, and appropriately challenging assumptions.


Attends class regularly and mostly contributes to the discussion in the aforementioned ways.


Attends class regularly and often contributes to the discussion in the aforementioned ways.


Attends class regularly and sometimes contributes to the discussion in the aforementioned ways. 


Irregular attendance and/or infrequent participation.

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

All written assessment must be submitted by the due date electronically via the Turnitin portal on the Wattle course site.

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) as submission must be through Turnitin.

The electronic copy does not require a cover sheet, however, in submitting the essay in electronic form you will be deemed to have acknowledged the criteria for submission stated in the written cover sheet and stated your obedience to the rules of assessment as set out in the written sheet and in university policy.

Hardcopy Submission

Hard copy submission is not required in this course.

Late Submission

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

Results for the first essay, together with individual and group feedback, will be released in Week 8 of the course. Results for the final assignment, with more written feedback, will be released to students after the release of final course results.

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

Re-submission of assignments is not normally available within this course.

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).

Alexander Cook
6125 2717

Research Interests

British and European History, History of Ideas, Historical Method

Alexander Cook

By Appointment
By Appointment
Alexander Cook
6125 2717

Research Interests

Alexander Cook

By Appointment
By Appointment

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