Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


The history of trauma is bound up with the history of warfare and its impact on combatants and noncombatants. Drawing on Australian and international examples from the World Wars, the Vietnam War and the War on Terror, this course examines changing theorisations of trauma in response to the major conflicts of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It also considers the medical, political, social and cultural responses to traumatized individuals and communities in the aftermath of conflict. This course will be of interest to students who want to gain a deeper understanding of the evolution of ideas about trauma, the impact of war on societies, and the long running debates over whether it is possible to resolve the mental damage of war.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 1 - 2021.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate understanding of the history of ideas about trauma and their relationship to major wars in the modern period;

2. Critically analyse primary sources and secondary scholarship relevant to the study of war and trauma;

3. Employ high-level skills in scholarly research and written, visual and verbal communication;

4. Apply historical knowledge to present-day discussions of trauma and the aftermath of wars in Australian and international contexts.


This course examines the impact of modern warfare on the evolution of ideas about trauma. Specific topics include the controversies over shell shock in the First World War, the influence of the Holocaust on ideas about intergenerational trauma (including its application to Indigenous people and other historically marginalized groups), the emergence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the Vietnam War, and the impact of the War on Terror on ideas about stress and resilience.

Assumed knowledge

10 units of History at 1000 level or equivalent

Assessment items

Essay: Research Essay (40%)

Presentation: Recorded presentation (35%)

Journal: Short responses to weekly readings (25%)

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.