Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Why study history? Can we really know about the past? Is history fiction? Why is the past so frequently and bitterly contested?

This course focuses on the craft of history to explore how varied and controversial historical writing can be. We focus on landmark events in international contexts and in a range of time periods. We employ diverse methods to interpret them, from the empirical to the theoretical to the unconventional. In doing so, we will interrogate the process by which the past is recovered, constructed and debated. In this course, you will join a discussion about the nature and practice of history as a basis for understanding the contested nature of human experience.



  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Evaluate a range of approaches and methods used by historians and related scholars.

2. Apply a number of methodologies employed by historians and scholars in related fields, taking account of ethical and intercultural issues as they arise.

3. Assess the use of a range of historical sources in scholarly argumentation.

4. Use a range of sources effectively in scholarly writing about the past.


Course content includes:

  • the importance of the past;
  • approaches to writing the past such as 'history from below', top down history, social, cultural and gendered history;
  • the range and nature of sources used to construct arguments about the past, including oral evidence, documents, and visual sources;
  • scholarly debates about the meaning of past events; and
  • writing book reviews in history.


Selected studies include:

  • the 'history wars' in a number of countries and across a range of periods, including in Australia;
  • the use of oral history in historical accounts;
  • historical controversies;
  • memory and history; and
  • postmodern approaches to historiography.

Specific case studies may be included involving issues encountered by academic staff in their own research work.


This course replaces HIST3059. If you have successfully completed HIST3059 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

20 Units of History at the 1000 Level

Assessment items

Practical Demonstration: Oral/Photographic Source Evaluation (35%)

Written Assignment: Book Review for Public Audience (35%)

Proposal / Plan: Write Test Questions (10%)

In Term Test: In Term Test (20%)

Contact hours



Online 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1


Online 1 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks starting in week 1

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.