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 provides an introduction to the foundations and frameworks of historical knowledge. There are three sections—older history which can be collected under the label of 'positivism'; the new social history; and the new cultural history. Students are introduced to these frameworks through recent historiographical writing and examples. They examine the successes and failures of each approach, and look at how these approaches have been taken up in the recent 'History Wars'. An understanding and appreciation of these three approaches to historical knowledge enables teachers of History to broaden their own ways of looking at and teaching the past, a skill which is of great benefit when teaching the perspective-focused Australian Curriculum—History.

6 points

Students are able to (1) develop an understanding of positivist, social and cultural history; (2) recognise the differences and similarities between these frameworks, and comprehend the interrelationship between them; (3) confront each framework with the successes and failures of the others; (4) develop an understanding of the political, social, cultural and intellectual contexts of these frameworks; (5) develop an understanding of how these frameworks have been played out in the context of the History Wars; and (6) gain an understanding of how these frameworks fit into the broader history of history.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a 1000-word annotated bibliography; (2) a 1000-word paper based on an in-class presentation; and (3) a 3000-word essay due at the end of semester. 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 Jenny Gregory
Contact hours
2 hours per week (over 13 weeks)
  • 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.