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HYM5185 - Colonial encounters: Ideas of race and 'otherness'

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Professor Marian Quartly and Professor Mark Peel


Clayton Second semester 2009 (Day)


This unit will explore the ways that Europeans interacted with people they encountered in settler societies in North America, Australia, and the Pacific. It will examine how these newly encountered groups of people were depicted in the era of colonialism, explore the histories of racial designations such as black, white and red, and examine how interracial sexual relationships complicated these neat colonial categories. Racism remains a huge problem in 21st century society: this unit will explore the background to this issue, not just narrating the events of colonialism, but putting the issue of 'otherness' and the formation of racial categories at the forefront of the story.


At the successful completion of the unit students will be expected:

  1. to have a detailed understanding of the history of settler colonialism as both a global and a local phenomenon
  2. to understand the theoretical arguments about how "race" was understood from the 17th to the 19th centuries, and how interracial sexuality came to play an increasingly important role in such classifications
  3. to be able to critically examine contemporary texts and drawings to evaluate what they reveal to the historian about ideas of race in the era
  4. to be able to fully articulate, verbally and in writing, their conclusions from these examinations
  5. to have shown their capacity to devise, research, and complete an essay on some aspect of Colonial Encounters based on their own study of the sources and scholarship
  6. to be able to reflect on the way in which history has influenced the present, through evaluating how our present-day racial formations are not fixed categories but historically and geographically unstable constructs
  7. In addition, students at fifth-year level will be expected to demonstrate more sophisticated analytical skills and submit work incorporating a higher level of competence in independent reading and research.


Tutorial presentation (approx. 1000 words): 10%
Report (2000 words): 20% +
Research essay (4000 words): 50%
Take-home test (2000 words): 20%

Contact hours

One two-hour seminar per week


HYM4185, HSY4185

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