Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - 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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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedClayton Second semester 2014 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Paul Muldoon


Previously coded PLT2120


There is a growing imperative for societies, particularly democratic societies, to deal with the violence of the past so that discordant groups can be reconciled and historical injustices repaired. This unit looks at the role of memory in politics and asks whether current attempts to 'deal with the past' are creating more compassionate democracies (i.e. democracies more attuned to the suffering of others) or making impossible demands upon the activity of politics itself.


On successful completion of this unit students are expected to be able to:

  1. Understand the political importance of 'coming to terms with the past';
  2. Give an account of the conceptual tensions and ambiguities surrounding the theory and practice of dealing with past injustices;
  3. Understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of conventional institutional responses to injustice based in law and the more innovative institutional responses based in theories of political reconciliation;
  4. Think critically about the implications our struggles to come to terms with the past carry in terms of the relationship between politics and time;
  5. Undertake structured research tasks and demonstrate high level written communication skills.


Tutorial participation: 10%
Written work: 60%
Exam: 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Workload requirements

2 hours/week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


First year politics sequence