AIH240 - Using and Abusing the Past

Unit details


2023 unit information

Enrolment modes:Trimester 2: Burwood (Melbourne), Waurn Ponds (Geelong), Online
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit Chair:Trimester 2: Brad Underhill




Incompatible with:


Typical study commitment:

Students will on average spend 150-hours over the teaching period undertaking the teaching, learning and assessment activities for this unit.

Scheduled learning activities - campus:

1 x 1-hour class, 1 x 1-hour seminar per week

Scheduled learning activities - online:

1 x 1-hour class (recordings provided), 1 x 1-hour online seminar per week


Why is there such heated dispute about the past these days? Why are statues being defaced, apologies being made for past deeds and school curricula revised? Is history just the sum of past events, or does it have uses in the present that we should understand and interrogate? Whose story matters? In this unit students will examine the integral relationship between the study of history and understanding the contemporary world. By examining changes in the thought and practice of history, students will become familiar with the proliferation of different kinds of histories that underpin current conflicts over the past around the world. Themes in the unit include the professionalisation of history in the nineteenth century, the emergence and outcomes of new forms of history in the twentieth century and the breaking down of certainty in how we interpret the events of the past.

ULO These are the Learning Outcomes (ULO) for this unit. At the completion of this unit, successful students can: Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

Demonstrate an understanding of the variety of different intellectual approaches that have informed study of the past over several centuries and the effects they have today.

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking


Display a critical awareness of the relationship between past and present, and 'historians' methods of investigating that relationship

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities


Identify and critically evaluate approaches to history from a range of historical works in different periods and places in an independent manner

GLO2: Communication

GLO5: Problem solving


Demonstrate an understanding of the political power of the past in the present in societies around the world

GLO1: Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

GLO4: Critical thinking

GLO8: Global citizenship


Assessment Description Student output Grading and weighting
(% total mark for unit)
Indicative due week
Assessment 1- Reflection on the role of the historian 200 words 5% Week 1
Assessment 2 - Essay 1000 words 25% Week 5
Assessment 3 - Essay 2000 words 50% Week 10
Assessment 4 - Reflection on the role of history 800 words 20% End of Unit Assessment period

The assessment due weeks provided may change. The Unit Chair will clarify the exact assessment requirements, including the due date, at the start of the teaching period.

Learning Resource

The texts and reading list for the unit can be found on the University Library via AIH240
Note: Select the relevant trimester reading list. Please note that a future teaching period's reading list may not be available until a month prior to the start of that teaching period so you may wish to use the relevant trimester's prior year reading list as a guide only.

Unit Fee Information

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