• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Pacific Studies
  • Areas of interest Pacific Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Geoffrey Clark
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings
Pacific Foundations: From Maritime Societies to Global Cultures (PASI8002)

This course has been adjusted for remote participation in Semester 1 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. On-campus activities may also be available.

The Pacific, home to a broad of the range of societies, cultures, languages, and polities, is one of the world’s most diverse regions. This interdisciplinary foundations course brings together the perspectives of anthropology, archaeology, and linguistics and history to explore questions of continuity and change that can help us understand this diversity. How and to what extent have people’s ways of life been shaped by their past, how are they adapting to changing circumstances in the present, and what challenges do they face for the future? The course combines environmental, cultural and anthropological perspectives to show students how natural and human systems have interacted over millennia to create the dynamic and often precarious world of Oceania. Globalisation extended to the Pacific in the 17th century and brought new ideologies, languages, diseases, products and people to remote islands. The course looks at the impact and legacies of Western arrival and examines how island societies have responded to the challenges posed by global systems.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the Pacific from the application of specific archaeological, anthropological, palaeoecological and linguistic techniques;

2. Critically evaluate and synthesise evidence-based arguments including advanced theoretical perspectives about the transformative events that have shaped the contemporary Pacific;

3. Understand the persistence of traditional political and economic structures in modern societies and the role of globalisation in contemporary socio-cultural formations;

4. Communicate arguments and findings effectively, both orally and in writing.

Indicative Assessment

Short map quiz on the bio-geographic and cultural-political divisions of the Pacific (10%) [LO 1, 3, 4]
Long essay (3000 words) on the persistence of traditional political and economic structures in modern Pacific societies (30%) [LO 1, 2, 3, 4]
Long essay (3000 words) on globalisation and conflict in Oceania  (30%) [LO 1, 3, 4]
Class presentation and critical review of two prescribed readings (20%) [LO 1, 2, 4]
Participation in seminar discussion (10%) (LO 2, 3, 4].

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.


The course will meet for 1.5 hours two times per week. Student workload is estimated at 10 hours/week.

Prescribed Texts

Specific readings will be assigned for each class based on the lecture topic and will be available on wattle.


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
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3637 21 Feb 2022 28 Feb 2022 31 Mar 2022 27 May 2022 In-Person and Online N/A

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