Pacific History, Environment & Science

Subject 136-506 (2009)

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

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2009.

Time Commitment: Total Time Commitment: 2.5 contact hours/week, 6 additional hours/week. Total of 8.5 hours per week.
Prerequisites: Usually admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth year honours, or a postgraduate coursework program.
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 Helen Verran

Subject Overview: There are two interwoven streams in this subject: a study of the role of the Pacific as a scientific laboratory, and issues in the environmental history of the Pacific. The Pacific or Oceania has been of central significance for many of the major scientific discoveries, theories and understandings which have shaped Western science. The subject will examine some of these, such as the scientists on the voyages of James Cook, and the work of such people as Charles Darwin, Alfred Russell Wallace, Patrick Vinton Kirch, Bahn and Flenley, and Athol Anderson. In parallel, the Pacific has provided a number of fundamental case studies in the evolution of human understandings of, and interaction, with the non-human environment. Such studies of human interactions with Pacific environments (the environmental history in a broad sense) provide invaluable insights into broader aspects of human settlement and exploitation. This is particularly accessible given that most initial human settlement has taken place within the last 1500 years, and the European wave in the last 250 years. The scholarship about this is new and vibrant, and the subject will contain case studies drawn from such issues as the debates over Polynesian migration, contrasting early settlement interactions in Tikopia and Mangaia, Maoris in New Zealand, the impact of alien introductions in Hawaii and the environmental impact of the sandalwood trade.
Objectives: Students who successfully complete this subject should:
  • demonstrate a general knowledge and understanding of the principal scientific investigations, discoveries and individuals associated with the Pacific region;
  • develop an appreciation of the main changes in insular environments as a consequence of human occupation of the Pacific;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the principal scientific debates about patterns of human migration in the Pacific and human impacts.
Assessment: Written work totaling 5000 words comprising a 1000 word seminar paper 20 per cent (due a week after presentation during semester), a 4000 word research essay 70 per cent (due at the end of semester) and contribution to seminar 10 per cent.
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available for purchase from the University Book Shop.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Related Course(s): M.A.History & Philosophy of Science (Advanced Seminars & Shorter Thesis)
Master of Arts (Science, Communication and Society)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History && Philosophy of Science

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