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


Historiography is the study of how history is written. How can we 'know' the past? What assumptions underpin our historical methods? What truth claims can historians validly make? Part 1 analyses three major schools of history writing from the nineteenth century to the present: positivist (or empiricist) history; social and cultural history; and the challenges posed to history by postmodernism. Part 2 consists of three modules, each of which addresses the theoretical underpinnings, strengths and weaknesses of one particular form of recent historiography, concentrating on the works of major writers in the field. Each of the historiographical approaches have their own claims to validity, and have mounted strong critiques of the others.

The academic objectives of this unit are (1) to familiarise students with, and develop a critical understanding of, the literature on historiography; (2) to develop an understanding of the relationship between different concepts of and approaches to history; and (3) to evaluate both the claims and the criticisms of these concepts and approaches.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1OnlineOnline timetabled
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours core unit in History [Bachelor of Arts (Honours)]
  • Honours option in Gender Studies [Bachelor of Arts (Honours)]

Students are able to (1) develop a critical understanding of the historiographical issues in the questions provided; (2) develop concrete essay writing skills, including the ability to research and write an effective essay, the ability to communicate ideas persuasively, the ability to develop and sustain an original argument, and the ability to critically understand historiographical issues and, hence, the discipline of History; (3) communicate verbally the arguments about the nature of historiography and the issues and arguments involved; (4) read widely and understand the material presented; and (5) express independent and critical positions on the literature and the issues presented in the unit.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) seminar participation; (2) two seminar papers; and (3) major 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)
Jane Lydon
Unit rules
Enrolment in
or HON-GNDST Gender Studies
Contact hours
Seminar - 2 hrs 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.