Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


In the period 1250 to 1788 rich and powerful societies in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas increasingly came into contact and conflict. This unit investigates the comparative histories of these societies, exploring themes such as the changing views of the world from Islamic and European perspectives, the range and effects of major demographic events such as the Black Death 'pandemic' of 1345 to 1351, religious proselytisation, the economic bases of different societies, and the beginnings of European colonisation, up to the 'discovery' of Australia. Through analysing these themes, students are given the opportunity to develop critical reading, research and written and oral communication skills. Within the context of the progressive development of historical skills required by the History major, the unit introduces students to the elementary principles of historical knowledge.

The unit aims to produce students who can critically analyse and understand (1) how the world was viewed by people at different times and places in the period 1250 to 1788; (2) how agrarian economies and class structures worked in different parts of the pre-modern world; (3) the effect of disease on world history; (4) what different political structures arose in different parts of the world, and why, during this period; (5) how religious conversion and imperialism operated globally in this period; and (6) colonialism and its implications for ethnic relations, gender relations and slavery.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 option in the History major sequence
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) formulate sound arguments about how human actions in the medieval and early modern world have been shaped by their historical contexts (social, political, economic, cultural and environmental); (2) describe the historical processes leading to political, economic, cultural and social change through comparative historical analysis of European, African and Asian societies up to 1788; (3) demonstrate knowledge of a range of key debates in medieval and early modern global history; (4) identify, critically evaluate and respond to arguments presented in secondary sources; (5) identify, critically evaluate and respond to evidence presented in primary sources; (6) express ideas cogently in verbal and essay forms, using both primary and secondary sources to support arguments; and (7) reference written work in accordance with the History guide to the documentation of essays.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) written assignments; and (3) an examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Jeremy Martens
Unit rules
HIST1101 Old Worlds, New Empires 1250–1750
Contact hours
lectures: up to 2 hours per week
tutorials: up to 1 hour per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.