• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject History
  • Areas of interest History, Digital Humanities, Heritage Studies

This course examines the role that history and historical narratives perform in the public sphere. We explore the ways in which audiences remember, imagine and in other ways engage with the past, whether it be as tourists at a theme park, visitors to a museum or war memorial, or as media consumers, broadly defined. The course will appeal to students working, or seeking to work, in areas such as documentary making, museum curatorship, oral history, or heritage management as well as to those interested in the burgeoning scholarly debates about how history is practised outside the academic sphere. The course involves analysis of films, exhibitions, broadcasts, re-enactments, and community-based history telling, while engaging with a range of critical and theoretical readings. The course involves site visits to major cultural institutions where we meet curators and other historical practitioners. The assessment requirements for the course provide students with the opportunity to develop and demonstrate practical skills in interviewing and other forms of non-written historical communication and inquiry.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand and communicate at a professional standard how public spaces, institutions and media (broadly defined) function as sites for the dissemination of historical narratives;
  2. produce substantive analysis of how historical narratives are used in the public realm;
  3. demonstrate in their writing an ability to interpret or read, and reflect critically upon, non-written historical evidence that might include audio and visual sources and objects in collections;
  4. understand how digitisation affects the craft of the historian and show an advanced understanding of contemporary literature pertaining to digitisation and the humanities; and
  5. demonstrate that they have attained research skills of a professional standard that can be used in developing historical narratives in media other than conventional writing.

Other Information

Hilda Kean and Paul Martin (eds), The Public History Reader (Routledge, 2013).

Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory: Volume 1: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture (Verso, 1994).

Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory: Volume 2: Island Stories: Unravelling Britain (Verso, 1997).

Indicative Assessment

  1. A research project, of 20 minutes duration, that uses non-print media such as audio or video to communicate a historical narrative, or a written treatment/design for a documentary, exhibition, memorial or other historical narrative in non-print media. Both options will include a 1000-word written exegesis, explaining the rationale for the project and the research behind it. (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. A research essay of 4000 words. (50) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Class participation/presentations. (10) [LO 1,2,4]

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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of seminars and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities;

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

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed HIST2234 or HIST6234.

Prescribed Texts

An e-brick consisting of primary material and scholarly essays will be compiled and made available on WATTLE.

Assumed Knowledge

Students are expected to be able to reflect critically on primary historical evidence and to apply the work of historians and other theorists in interpreting it. A background of undergraduate study in visual art, art history, cinema theory, anthropology, media studies, memory studies, curatorship or digital humanities is desirable.


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

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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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8657 21 Jul 2025 28 Jul 2025 31 Aug 2025 24 Oct 2025 In Person N/A

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