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This subject examines rival ideas about Australia. It explores some of the ways in which Australian history, politics, culture and society have been sites of contestation. It looks at issues such as Aboriginality, migration, sexuality, war and conflict, the environment and class/status. It draws upon a variety of texts (fiction, non-fiction, film and other media) to uncover the diverging understandings of what Australia is, has been and might become. On completion of the subject, students should have developed ways to discuss and theorise diverse ways in which political and cultural conflicts can be understood.


500 word essay 30% (due mid-semester), a 2500 word essay 60% (due during the examination period) and class presentation 10%. Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to be pass this subject.

Supplementary Texts

Steven Angelides and Barbara Baird, Histories of Sexualities;

Larissa Behrendt, Achieving Social Justice: Indigenous Rights and Australias Future;

Judith Brett and Anthony Moran, Ordinary Peoples Politics;

Susan Carruthers, The Media at War;

David Carter, Dispossession, Dreams and Diversity;

Inga Clendinnen, The History Question: Who Owns the Past?;

Tim Flannery, Country; Patricia Grimshaw et al, Creating a Nation;

Ghassan Hage, Against Paranoid Nationalism;

Clive Hamilton, Affluenza: When Too Much is Never Enough;

Peter A Jackson and Gerrard Sullivan, Multicultural Queer: Australian Perspectives; Phillip Knightley, The First Casualty;

Mark Peel, The Lowest Rung;

Richard White, Inventing Australia

Other Details

Levels: Undergraduate