History

HIS101 - Western Societies from Antiquity to the Present

This subject introduces students to several approaches to historical inquiry and examples of the ways in which those approaches have been put into practice. In the process, it covers various personalities, periods and themes in Western history, including the history of Christianity. They include Athens in the fifth century BC, the rise and fall of Rome, the growth of medieval cities and the twelfth-century renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment world till today. Each of these topics introduces students to new themes in Western history and new methodologies in historical inquiry.

HIS102 - The Ancient World: From the Birth of Greek Rationalism to the Crisis of the Roman Republic

This subject explores the processes and events which contributed to the emergence and structuring of Western Civilisation. After a preliminary introduction to the problems associated with the study of the ancient world and the methodologies and theories developed by historians, the subject examines the rise of Greek rationalism, the birth of the Polis and of Greek democracy and their decline, and how the Romans absorbed and transformed the Greek and Hellenistic political and cultural heritage. The second part of the subject examines the rise of the Roman Republic, its expansion into the Mediterranean world, the political and social crises of the I Century B.C., initialised by the Gracchan Revolution, and the cultural tensions and processes, which led to its transformation during the reign of Augustus.

HIS203 - The Early Church and the Roman Empire: From the Principate of Augustus to the Reign of Justinian

This subject explores the rise of the early Christian Church from the Principate of Augustus to the reign of the emperor Justinian. It will first examine the question of the origins of Christianity and its relation with the Judaism of the Second Temple and then the emergence of the early Christian communities in the empire following the death of Jesus, the changing nature of the persecutions against Christians, along with the structuring and organisation of the Christian institution of the Church, its triumphant recognition by Constantine, its internal fight against heresy, and the formulation and formalisation of dogmas and rituals through the work of the apologists, the early fathers and the various Councils.

HIS204 - The Medieval World

This subject presents a survey of the formative era of Christendom, covering the rise of Christian culture after the fall of Rome until the end of the thirteenth century. More specifically, students will study how and why the Carolingian Empire rose to prominence during the eighth century, the issues at stake for the European monarchies and the Church during the investiture conflict of the twelfth century, and the philosophical, religious, and technological expansion of Europe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Special attention will be given to the historiographical debates regarding the ways in which we characterise and describe the events of the Middle Ages.

HIS205 - Ancient Rome and the Poetics and Politics of Space

The unit, based on fieldwork, focuses on the study of the city of Rome as a space of social activity and cultural exchange from its foundation to the advent and spread of Christianity. It traces the evolution in the function and meaning of the Eternal City through an examination of key public spaces and monuments, and the analysis of relevant literary texts. It explores the relationship between space, power and politics in the city of Rome from its foundation in the VIII century B.C. to its transformation in Late Antiquity. Contrary to traditional approaches, which tend to conceptualise space and architecture as manifestations of hegemonic political and economic discourses or forces, the course considers them as discourses or forces shaping the daily life of individuals. Consequently the built environment and its ‘places’ contain a complex set of meandering and intersecting narratives of experiences, preserved in the collective memory.

HIS301 - War, Science and Religion in the Twentieth Century

This subject explores major world events in the XX century. The focus is on the intellectual and scientific developments at the turn of the century, the First World War, the Russian Revolution, the Rise of the Weimar Republic, the rise of totalitarian & Fascist Regimes, the Great Depression, the Interwar Period, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the Holocaust and the cultural and political institutions, events and tensions of the Cold War Period and its aftermath. While exploring the ways in which science, politics and religion interact and combine in a growingly global society, the subject will also examine the different ways historians approach and interpret the recent past.

HIS302 - Australian Politics, Culture and Religion since 1788

This subject will focus primarily on the historical interaction between politics, culture and religion in Australian History since 1788. It will examine the historiographical debates regarding the nature of Australian history. Topics will include the relationship between the first European settlers in Australia and the indigenous population; the arrival of European immigrants/settlers to Australian shores; the contribution of leading political, religious and intellectual figures to Australian nation- and state-building; the contribution of Australia to the major world conflicts and events and their effects on Australian politics and society; multiculturalism and the problem of Australian national identity.

HIS303 - Humanists and Reformers: The Renaissance

This subject explores the period in Western European history known as the Renaissance, from the middle of the fourteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth century. It focuses mainly on the literary and intellectual achievements of this period, especially during the Italian humanist movement, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation and the early Scientific Revolution. It presents a history of early modern times emphasising the philosophical, political and theological issues discussed amongst some of Europe’s best-known writers, including Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Erasmus, Calvin, Galileo, and Descartes.

HIS304 - Enlightenment Europe and the Creation of the Modern World

At the end of the seventeenth century and beginning of the eighteenth century, philosophers in Britain and France considered the advancements in science and society of the previous era. Such advancements, they argued, ushered into European society ideals of human liberty and progress, resulting in the publication of dictionaries, encyclopaedias, political tracts, historical works, novels, and a variety of scientific treatises. These writings were intended to promote human knowledge and assist social advancements. The aggressive ideology of these philosophers, as well as the perceived demise of traditional political and religious institutions, also led to social and political revolutions in France and America. And in the early nineteenth century, such changes continued to manifest themselves in religious and political conflict and thought, including the flourishing of German romanticism in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars. This subject considers these events and examines critically the writings of the so-called Age of Reason.

History Major

Completion of eight History units constitutes a major.