Faculty of Arts

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2014 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitHistory
OfferedNot offered in 2014
Coordinator(s)Professor Alistair Thomson


Previously coded HYM5200


Through oral history, memory has become an important source for contemporary history. Historical memory is also central to the contemporary cultural politics of witnessing, commemoration and reconciliation. This unit introduces conceptual frameworks for analysis of memory sources, including oral history and life writing. Specific topics include oral history and social history, memory and collective identity, private and public memory, memory and narrative, psychoanalysis and history, and trauma and memory. Through readings and practical workshops, you will develop skills and understandings that will help you to interpret oral histories and other life narratives.


The unit aims to:

  1. Introduce key conceptual and theoretical issues in the relationship between memory and the writing of history.
  2. Introduce students to a range of past and present 'memory-work' particularly as it relates to the development of shared understandings of the past, including the production of oral histories and life stories and various forms of public and private commemoration.
  3. Provide students interested in exploring research tools such as oral history or life story reconstruction with a coherent and thorough grounding in the relevant historical scholarship and critical literature.
  4. Introduce students to key questions about the ethical dimensions involved in producing and using various forms of memory as historical evidence.
  5. Provide supervised practical experience in research techniques involving the use of memory in the writing of history.


Written work: 100% (9000 words)

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

1-hour on-line discussion group or 2-hour weekly seminar