• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History
  • Areas of interest History
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Ruth Morgan
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings

Disasters and their aftermaths can expose physical areas, social processes, and mental worlds that we tend not to see in day-to-day life. This course examines how disasters in the modern world are historicised, memorialised and remembered, and how these processes have influenced understandings of risk, vulnerability, and social and environmental justice. Working across diverse case studies, including nuclear tests, political unrest, and industrial disease, this course considers a diverse range of historical evidence to assess the ways in which understandings of disaster have been shaped and contested through collective memory and memorialisation. Through an examination of museum exhibitions, government inquiries and policies, public ceremony and commemoration, popular culture, and risk assessments, we will examine how the memory and representation of disasters have been debated and transformed. As extreme weather events become more frequent and intense with questions of accountability, mitigation, and adaptation, this course will encourage reflection on the contested meanings of 'disaster' in framing what and who is remembered, and the legacies that are forged in their aftermath.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. demonstrate a knowledge of the remembrance, historicisation, and memorialisation of disasters;
  2. identify and analyse the key concepts in the historical study of disasters;
  3. critically analyse the representation of the past in a variety of different media; and
  4. undertake a research project evaluating the efficacy of a particular representation of a disaster and its aftermath

Indicative Assessment

  1. Historiographical Review (2,000 words)  (30) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Research Proposal (500 words)  (10) [LO 4]
  3. Research Essay (4,000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Tutorial or Online Participation and Contribution (10) [LO 1,2,3]
  5. Research Presentation (10 minutes)  (10) [LO 1,2,3]

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 mode of delivery for this course may be either in person or online:

In person: 130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks comprising seminars, workshop and workshop-like activities;

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Online: 130 hours of total student learning time made up from

a) 36 hours of contact in workshop format or through online activities;

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

No prescribed texts

Preliminary Reading

Sanora Babb, On the Dirty Plate Trail: remembering the Dust Bowl refugee camps (University of Texas Press, 2007).

Anthony Elliot and Eric Hsu (Eds.), The Consequences of Global Disasters (Routledge, 2016).

Timothy S. George, Minamata: pollution and the struggle for democracy in postwar Japan (Harvard, 2001).

Elizabeth Tynan, The Secret of Emu Field (NewSouth, 2022).


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
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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
4144 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View

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