• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History

'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:

  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. undertake original research to apply key course concepts; and
  5. critically analyse the concepts raised in the lectures and identify them in the assigned readings.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Primary Document Exercise, 1250 words (25%) (25) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Case Study Research Essay, 2500 words (40%) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Seminar Participation (10%) (10) [LO 1,2,3,5]
  4. Final Examination (2 hours) (25%) (25) [LO 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) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 18 hours of lectures and 18 hours of tutorials; and

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

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 36 units of ANU courses towards a degree, or with the permission of the convenor. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed HIST6232.

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
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $5280
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
2518 23 Feb 2026 02 Mar 2026 31 Mar 2026 29 May 2026 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions