HIS301: Topics in Twentieth-Century History


HIS301: Topics in Twentieth-Century History

Key details

Accredited towardsBachelor of Arts in the Liberal Arts
Unit typeElective unit
Credit points6
Indicative contact hours3 hours per week
Offered inSemester 1
Tuition feeLearn more



The 20th century witnessed unprecedented technological progress, the collapse of centuries-old empires and socio-political orders, and violence on a scale never before imagined. This unit introduces students to some of the major topics in this tumultuous period. While the initial focus will be on western Europe, students will also consider developments in the United States and Asia. The intention is not to survey the century as a whole, but to study a small selection of important events and movements in depth. Students will devote two or three weeks to each topic, examining relevant primary sources and considering different historians’ perspectives. You will pay particular attention to the roles of changing technology, revolutionary political ideologies and religion. Possible topics to be covered include: the origins of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, German Nazism, the end of the British Raj, the Cold War, the American Civil Rights era, the Sexual Revolution, and the rise of China as a world power.


Learning outcomes

The unit learning outcomes develop in students an awareness of the value and relevance of the study strand. On completion of this unit of study, students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the problems in twentieth century historiography
  2. demonstrate an understanding of the major events and processes of the twentieth century
  3. critically evaluate primary sources
  4. compare and contrast the various ideological trends and their implications for the understanding of twentieth-century history and historiography
  5. engage in independent research and critically evaluate conflicting scholarship
  6. effectively and confidently participate in tutorials and contribute with clarity and coherence
  7. write well-argued and well-structured essays and appropriately use references and bibliographies according to academic conventions.


Interested in other History units?

HIS101: Western Societies from Antiquity to the Present
HIS102: The Ancient World – From the Birth of Greek Rationalism to the Crisis of the Roman Republic
HIS203: The Early Church and the Roman Empire – From the Principate of Augustus to the Reign of Justinian
HIS204: The Medieval World
HIS301: Topics in Twentieth-Century History
HIS302: Australian Politics, Culture and Religion since 1788
HIS303: Humanists and Reformers – The Renaissance
HIS304: Enlightenment Europe and the Creation of the Modern World



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