Subject 100-185 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 1, - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2 hour lecture and a 1 hour tutorial per week
Total Time Commitment: 3 contact hours per week , 5 additional hours per week. Total of 8 hours per week.
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Sean Raymond Scalmer


Sean Scalmer
Subject Overview: There have never been more electoral democracies in the world than there are today, and globally politics is full of promises or threats of the further spread of democracy. Historically, though, democracy has been a relatively rare and often precarious form of government, and always an incomplete one. There have been warrior democracies, slave-owning democracies, property-owning democracies, and white male democracies. The franchise and scope of democratic governance have never been fixed. And the meaning and application of ‘democratic’ principles remains an object of continuing political struggle. What, then, is a ‘democracy'? Where did democratic principles come from? How have they been applied? And are they changing? This course offers a sustained analysis of the past, present, and future of democracy. It has four aims. First, it introduces students to the primary elements of democratic theory. Second, it traces through the shifting place of democratic principles over time in political life from the ancient to the modern world. Third, it contemplates the historical struggle to extend those principles in new directions. Finally, it ponders key tensions and possibilities in democratic practice over the coming years. In pursuit of these aims, we range widely. The course moves historically from the ancient world to possible futures. It traverses a geography that extends from Europe to Asia, the Americas and Africa. It contemplates the democratic struggles of the colonised, the working class, and women. And it ponders the connections between democracy and the media, the environment, and the economy. On completion of the subject students should be familiar with democratic theory and history. They should understand the forces that have helped to make democracy, and they should be able to imagine how it might be remade over the coming years.
  • Be familiar with central debates in democratic theory.
  • Be able to critically apply these theories to researching and understanding particular historical and contemporary cases.
  • Recognise the diversity of political forms that claim adherence to ‘democraticÂ’ principle
  • Identify the exclusions and limitations that underlie particular examples of democratic governance.
  • Appreciate the historical conditions that might contribute to expanding or restricting the franchise, scope and authenticity of democratic rule.
  • A bibliographical exercise of 500 words (10%), due early in the semester;
  • A research essay of 1500 words (40%), due late in the semester;
  • A two-hour examination (worth 50%), in the examination period.

Students must attend a minmum of nine tutorials, demonstrate familiarity with online resources and participate in the Faculty of Arts online learning community in order to qualify to have their written work assessed.

Prescribed Texts: None
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Research through competent use of the library and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research.
  • Critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument.
  • Thinking in theoretical terms through lectures, tutorial discussion, essay writing and engagement in the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences.
  • Understanding of social, ethical and cultural contexts through the contextualisation of judgments.
  • Developing of critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities through learning how to construct an argument.
  • Communicating knowledge intelligibly and economically through essay writing and tutorial discussion.
  • Written communication through essay preparation and writing.
  • Public speaking through tutorial discussion and class preparations
  • Attention to detail through essay preparation and writing.
  • Time management and planning through managing and organising workloads for recommended reading, essay and assignment completion.
  • Teamwork through group discussions
  • Computer and IT literacy
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Interdisciplinary Foundation Subjects

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