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 Level 2 unit in the history of ideas explores the development of 'civilisation' and 'barbarism' in European culture and thought since the Renaissance. Topics focus on critical and self-reflexive accounts of European civilisation, including the Renaissance discovery of otherness; the Enlightenment ideal of the 'noble savage'; post-Enlightenment critiques of civilisation; twentieth-century narratives of 'civilised violence' and civilisational decay; and contemporary reflections on the state of 'Europe' as a civilisational project. Students are introduced to theories of the dialectic of civilisation and barbarism and the civilising process. Literary and theoretical texts drawn from the European tradition are studied in sociohistorical context in order to arrive at a critical understanding of the development of European civilisational values.

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) analyse a range of significant literary and theoretical works that engage with ideas of civilisation and barbarism; (2) demonstrate understanding of the development of European concepts of civilisation, civility and civil society and their opposites, 'nature' and 'barbarism'; (3) apply the principles of ethical research, analytical thinking, clear writing and correct documentation in written assignments; and (4) communicate orally and interact constructively and productively in interpersonal (classroom) situations.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) critical analysis; (2) research essay; and (3) tutorial participation. 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 Kati Tonkin
Unit rules
EURO2201 Civilisation and Barbarism in European Cultural History
Contact hours
Seminar: 1 x 90-minute seminar for 10 weeks
online modules: approx. 1 x 60 minutes per week for 10 weeks. No lectures.

William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Sigmund Freud, Civilisation and its Discontents

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground

Thomas Mann, Death in Venice And Seven Other Stories

  • 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.