• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course

'Crime' and 'justice' are frequently considered to be opposites. But are they?

 This course uses historical case studies to explore criminal justice dilemmas in the Western world, from the Enlightenment to the mid-twentieth century. Over this period the problem of crime and efforts to devise effective means of delivering justice posed an ongoing challenge for legislators, philosophers, religious leaders, scientific experts, and institutional managers.

 What counts as crime? How should crime be controlled? Does mercy have a place in punishment? Is the state an agent of injustice? Debate over these questions led to new institutions, practices, and concepts, including: the invention of the penitentiary; the abolition of capital punishment; and the rise of eugenics.

 Lectures and readings will focus on key dilemmas that brought crime and justice into question. Tutorials will involve the analysis of original documents and the essay will explore an historical crime and justice dilemma in depth.  

Learning Outcomes

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

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

1. identify and analyse the historical roots of contemporary criminal justice dilemmas

2: understand the changing contexts of debates over criminal justice issues

3: interpret historical representations of crime and justice (in written texts; historical statistics; visual images - both documentary and artistic)

4: critically analyse the concepts raised in the lectures and identify them in the assigned readings

5: apply key course concepts to design a substantial research project

Indicative Assessment

Primary Document Exercise, 1500 words (30%) [Learning outcomes 1, 2, 3]

Case Study Research Essay, 4000 words (60%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

Seminar Participation (10%) [Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, 5]

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) 30 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 18 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; and b) 100 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed HIST2232

Prescribed Texts

A reading brick will comprise the course readings.


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
2022 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $5700
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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