Critical Theories

Subject 136-073 (2009)

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

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:

Semester 2, - 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 1 hour lecture and 90 minute seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: 2.5 contact hours per week, 6 additional hours per week. total of 8.5 hours per week.

Usually 50 points of first-year subjects. For cultural studies students these 50 points of arts subjects must include at least 25 points from a specified list of cultural studies approved subject areas.

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:


Assoc Prof John Rundell


Dr John Rundell

Subject Overview:

The aim of this subject is to introduce students to and critically examine the major debates in contemporary critical theories from Western Marxism to postmodernism. These critical theories include the German Frankfurt School, French poststructuralism, the Budapest School, post-Marxism and feminism, all of which are set against the background of the Enlightenment and the Romantic and Heidegerrean responses to it. On completion of the subject, students should have developed an understanding of the central issues and ideas of the critical theorists covered in this course and be able to convey this understanding through a critical engagement with the issues and theories in the written assessment of the course.

Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject should...
  • have knowledge of the major ideas and theories of classical and contemporary critical theories;
  • have background in critical theories on which to base further research and study in the area;
  • have experience of thinking systematically about difficult intellectual problems of an abstract nature;
  • have practice conducting research, speaking articulately, writing clearly and reading with attention to detail;
  • have experience with methods of critical analysis and argument employed in critical theories leading to improved general reasoning and analytical skills;
  • develop an understanding of the control issues and ideas of the critical theorists covered in this course;
  • convey this understanding through a critical engagement with the issues and theories in the written assessment of the course.

A literature review of 1000 words 40% (due early in semester), a class paper of 500 words based on tutorial discussion 10% (due at the end of semester) and an essay of 2500 words 50% (due at the end of semester).

Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available at the bookshop at the star of semester.

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:
  • develop skills in written and oral communication;

  • be able to conduct independent research;

  • be able to make appropriate use of primary and secondary sources in mounting an argument;

  • be able to form defensible judgements based on a critical evaluation of conflicting arguments.


Formerly available as 136-209/309. Students who have completed 136-209/309 are not eligible to enrol in this subject. This subject is offered in alternate years.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology & Social Theory
Anthropology and Social Theory
Anthropology and Social Theory
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies Major
Philosophy and Social Theory
Social Theory
Social Theory Major
Sociology Major

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