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The Origins of Modern Australia - MHIS204

The origins of modern Australia have long been the subject of scholarly contest; more recently, heated battles over the meaning and morality of British colonisation in the nineteenth century have echoed in public life. This unit investigates the history of Australia from the arrival of Europeans to Federation in 1901 in order to both understand these debates and find new ways to engage with them. It will situate this history in the context of world making and breaking imperial expansion in order to think carefully about the causes and consequences of British colonization. Indeed, the founding of modern Australia is a remarkable story. In a little over a century, the experiment of creating a new society from a mixture of convict and military stock had been transformed into a beacon of white racial pride. Australia was a thriving nation imagined within an imperial framework that also sought to exclude Asians and Indigenous people from its future. At the same time, British people visited the antipodes to witness the apparent future of liberal democracy, it was a site of remarkable political reform in the British world. What should we make of this story? What are the key contests between historians over the causes and effects of this transformation? What are the consequences of narrating the origins of modern Australia in these different ways today?

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

TBD - Not offered in the current year; next offering is to be determined

Staff Contact(s): Dr Leigh Boucher

12cp at 100 level or above or (3cp in HIST or MHIS or POL units) Prerequisite Information


NCCW(s): MHIS245
Unit Designation(s):
Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Faculty of Arts

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
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