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


This unit answers the question 'what is history?'. It examines the development of the History discipline in order to illuminate the practice of historians today. Students master 'historiography'—the theoretical foundation of the discipline. Such theory can be as exciting as the past itself. Historians have disagreed bitterly about historical practice, to the point where commentators write passionately about 'history wars'. The unit surveys the embattled development of the discipline by examining exemplary historians. It locates these figures in their time and place, while relating them to the great conceptual issues that engage historians today. Among these issues, it studies social and cultural history, discusses feminist, poststructuralist, and postcolonial interventions in the History discipline, and considers postmodern critiques of historical 'truth' itself. The unit is recommended for all students planning to proceed to honours in History and wishing to gain an enhanced understanding of historical theory.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the History major sequence
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) describe and assess the basic historiographical issues characteristic of the discipline of History; (2) demonstrate a detailed understanding of the history of the History discipline since its establishment during the nineteenth century and a comprehension of major conceptual modes in 'thinking history'; (3) locate appropriate sources for research essays; and (4) present arguments in both written and oral assessments using the conventions of the historical discipline.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation; (2) a research essay; and (3) a review essay. 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)
Professor Jane Lydon
Unit rules
a Level 1 History unit
or EURO1101 Contemporary European Culture in Historical Perspective
or GEND1901 Gender in Australia
Contact hours
2 hours 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.