• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject War Studies
  • Areas of interest History, International Relations, Political Sciences
  • Academic career Undergraduate
  • Course convener
    • Prof Bruce Scates
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

Recourse to military conflict both reflects and profoundly shapes societies, has been a major agent in determining how societies have been understood and governed in the modern world, and forms a central element in national identity, memory and memorialisation. This course will examine these inter-relationships through several distinct forms of such conflict, evaluating the ways in which the meanings, capacities and experience of warfare have interacted with social, political and cultural change. Each of these forms - including civil, imperial, colonial, frontier, 'world' and 'total' wars - offer their own perspective on the dynamic links between war and society, and on the impact of conflict on distinct groups within societies. They also provide a range of ways of studying and assessing the historical significance of modern warfare in general, as well as specific wars and campaigns. We will discuss these perspectives as well as the conflicts themselves, reflecting on the methods and applications of approaches ranging from political history through to the use of material culture, memory and memorialisation in understanding the relationships between war and society.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
1. Demonstrate a knowledge of major transitions, processes and developments in the relationships between military conflict and society.
2. Utilise case studies of important periods and themes to explore these relationships in depth. 
3. Critically reflect upon the range of documentary and other historical resources and historical interpretations.
4. Demonstrate the capacity to conceptualise and/or critically evaluate ways of presenting historical knowledge and perspectives in a variety of forms.
5. Demonstrate strong research and analytical skills in written and oral form.

Indicative Assessment

Archival Research Essay, 3000 words (40%), Learning Outcomes 1-5

Compulsory Excursion onsite Quiz (20%), Learning Outcomes 1-5

Optional Excursion onsite Quiz (20%) or substitute book review, 2000 words (20%), Learning Outcomes 1-5

Examination of an object, 1000 words (10%), Learning Outcomes 1-5

Tutorial participation (10%), Learning Outcomes 1-5

 Hurdle Statement: Students must attempt all assessment items to pass the course. Failure to submit all assessment items will result in an Incomplete (NCN) even if scores for the other completed components result in a Passing total (50+).


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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities.
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Indicative Reading List

David Armitage, Civil Wars: A History in Ideas (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2017).
James Belich, The New Zealand Wars and the Victorian Interpretation of Racial Conflict (AUP: Auckland, 1988).
David Bell, The first total war: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare as We Know It (Houghton: New York, 2014).
Jeremy Black, The Age of Total War 1860-1945 (New York: Greenwood, 2006).
John Dower, War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War (Pantheon: New York, 1993).
Roger Chickering (ed), Anticipating Total War: The German and American Experience (CUP: Cambridge, 1999).
John Connor, The Australian Frontier Wars (Sydney: NewSouth, 2002).
Julie K. de Graffenried, Sacrificing Childhood: Children and the Soviet State in the Great Patriotic War (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas 2014).   
Anna Krylova, Soviet Women in Combat. A History of Violence on the Eastern Front (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010).
Franziska Seraphim, War memory and social politics in Japan, 1945-2005 (Boston: HUP, 2006).




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 1
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and 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). You can find your student contribution amount for each course 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 and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
9371 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person

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