Critical Theories

Subject SOTH30001 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

Semester 2, Parkville - 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: One 1 hour lecture and one 1.5 hour seminar each week.
Total Time Commitment: An average of 8.5 hours each week
Prerequisites: 25 points of first year Arts subjects. Cultural studies students should ensure that 25 points of subjects from cultural studies approved subject areas have been completed.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: 136076 Modernity: Revolution to Social Movements, or another core 2nd year Anthropology and Social Theory subject.
Non Allowed Subjects: Previously available available as 136-209 / 136-309 and until 2010 at level 2 as 136-073. Students who have completed 136-073 or 136-209 or 136-309 are not eligible to enrol in this subject.
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website :


Assoc Prof John Rundell


Associate Professor 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.


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.
Assessment: 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 from the bookshop at the start 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:

Students who successfully complete this subject should...

  • 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.

Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology && Social Theory
Anthropology and Social Theory
Anthropology and Social Theory
Gender Studies
Gender Studies
Gender Studies Major
Philosophy and Social Theory
Social Theory
Social Theory Major

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