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 offers students an inspirational history of the ways in which different cultures throughout history have constructed different interpretations of nature and accordingly their relations to it. It examines the ways in which nature has been constructed mythically, theologically, ideologically, philosophically, scientifically and artistically. The unit prepares students intellectually for the environmental and related philosophical challenges of the twenty-first century which will impact upon all professions. The unit covers various strands of Western and Eastern history including topics such as the agricultural revolution, the development of the first cities, the middle ages, the Renaissance, modernity and twentieth-century developments in the sciences and arts. Along the way students meet many of the great figures of history and become conversant with the big ideas of history. The latter stages of the unit concern how our current actions are connected to historical ideas and have consequences for the future.

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

Students are able to (1) outline the historical patterns of Western culture from the agricultural revolution to the twenty-first century; (2) analyse the points of intersection and divergence between the arts and sciences across the course of Western history; (3) develop an enriched conceptual framework within which to understand contemporary culture as the embodiment of a particular lineage of philosophical values; and (4) develop ethical and philosophical perspectives of direct relevance to contemporary culture.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a written essay; (2) a visual essay or seminar presentation; and (3) and/or 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)
Joely-Kym Sobott
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
tutorials: 1 hour per week
Enrolled students can access unit material via the LMS (Learning Management System).
  • 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.