• Class Number 4459
  • Term Code 3230
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Prof Martin Thomas
    • Prof Martin Thomas
  • 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
    • Prof Martin Thomas
SELT Survey Results

This course traces the history of Western exploration of the Americas, Australasia, Africa, Antarctica and beyond from the 18th 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.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate critical understanding of key themes and issues in the study of global exploration;
  2. explain the relationship between exploration and imperial interests in different national and regional contexts;
  3. examine and analyse primary sources to illuminate course themes;
  4. effectively communicate ideas both orally and in writing; and
  5. conduct independent research and analysis.

Research-Led Teaching

The convenor has extensive experience of researching expeditions and exploration, working from both archival sources and fieldwork-based interviews in Indigenous Australian communities. He has produced books and works for non-print media based on this research. The program of study, which includes detailed examination of primary sources, is informed by this experience.

Field Trips


Additional Course Costs


Examination Material or equipment


Required Resources


Whether you are on campus or studying remotely, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to the course Class participation & assignments
2 Concepts and Methods Class participation & assignments
3 The Enlightenment and its Voyagers: Captain Cook in Perspective Class participation & assignments
4 Literary and Ethno-historical Perspectives on the Pacific Class participation & assignments
5 Alexander von Humboldt in South America Class participation & assignments
6 Mungo Park in Africa Class participation & assignments • Quiz (Part 1) distributed this week for submission on 6 April • Assessment Task 1 (book review) due on 12 April
7 African Heroes of the Nineteenth Century Class participation & assignments
8 Exploring Inland Australia Part 1 Class participation & assignments
9 Exploring Inland Australia Part 2 Class participation & assignments
10 Polar Obsessions and Mountainous Imaginings Class participation & assignments
11 Exploration and its Afterlives Class participation & assignments
12 The Moon and Beyond Class participation & assignments • Quiz (Part 2) distributed this week for submission on 31 May • Assessment Task 2 (essay) due on 6 June

Tutorial Registration

Register via Wattle.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Book review 25 % 1, 2, 3, 4
Research essay 55 % 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Quiz 10 % 1, 2
Participation 10 % 1, 2, 4

* 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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.


Students are graded on their contribution to activities in class. You are expected to demonstrate that you have read the set texts closely and that you are able to reflect on them meaningfully in a group environment. The assessment will focus on the quality and originality of each student's contribution to discussion.



Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Book review

Students will write a review of a significant work on exploration, choosing one title from a selection of books set by the convenor. The task requires you to make a close and critical evaluation of the entire book and to apply insights gained from lectures and tutorials in your assessment of it. To do well in this assignment, you will need to familiarise yourself with the book review as a genre of writing. Examples will be supplied. At the end of the book review, you will be required to formulate three questions that you would ask the author if you were interviewing him or her.

Length: 1200 words

Percentage of total assessment: 25

Deadline: 12 April

Assessment Task 2

Value: 55 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Research essay

The research essay requires the student to write an in-depth history essay, using primary and secondary sources. Essay questions will be distributed early in the semester. You are advised to decide which question you will answer early in the course and prepare accordingly. The longer format of this assessment task provides students with the opportunity to critically examine an array of primary sources and to show how they might be illuminated by different historiographical approaches.

Length: 3000 words

Percentage of total assessment: 55

Deadline: 6 June

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2


Students will complete a two-part on-line quiz that examines how thoroughly you have absorbed the content of the lectures. The purpose of the quiz is to encourage the essential discipline of note-taking and ensure that you have the necessary factual foundation for successfully completing the other assessment tasks.

Length: About 50 questions in total.

Percentage of total assessment: 10

Deadlines: 6 April (Part 1) and 31 May (Part 2)

Assessment Task 4

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4


Forms 10 per cent of total assessment. Criteria for assessment are described below.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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 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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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.

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 Martin Thomas

Research Interests

Martin Thomas is a historian of media, science, and cross-cultural contact. He has published extensively on exploration, expeditions, the perception of landscape, and the history of anthropology. His publications include The Artificial Horizon: Imagining the Blue Mountains, The Many Worlds of R. H. Mathews: In search of an Australian anthropologist, and Expedition into Empire. He works across media, having practised as an oral historian, radio producer, and documentary filmmaker.

Prof Martin Thomas

Tuesday 14:00 16:00
Tuesday 14:00 16:00
Tuesday 14:00 16:00
Prof Martin Thomas

Research Interests

Prof Martin Thomas

Tuesday 14:00 16:00
Tuesday 14:00 16:00
Tuesday 14:00 16:00
Prof Martin Thomas

Research Interests

Prof Martin Thomas

Tuesday 14:00 16:00
Tuesday 14:00 16:00
Tuesday 14:00 16:00

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