Imaging Australian Spaces

Subject AUST90007 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

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

This subject is not offered in 2011.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week
Total Time Commitment: 10 hours per week: total time commitment 120 hours
Prerequisites: Admission to a relevant postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours program or enrolment in a relevant coursework Masters 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 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:


Dr Sara Wills Prof Kate Darian-Smith
Subject Overview:

The way we think about space matters. Images and ideas of national and local space have a particular power to shape our history, our politics, our understandings of the world, and our attitudes to others. This subject allows students to examine the ways in which Australian space has been represented in a variety of forms. The subject explores how these spaces - conceived in a visual, literary, historical, sociological and physical sense - have developed, and how these have been represented and promoted in various contexts. Through a series of case studies, the subject examines topics and issues such as national space, spaces of silence and emptiness, legacies of colonial inscription on landscape, badlands and 'trauma-scapes' public space, the intersections of globality and locality, spaces of exclusion and of belonging, the imaging of home and community space, as well as spaces of power and the built environment, ruins and 'terrain vague'. Key and recurring themes will be the spaces that 'haunt' the Australian imagination: cross-cultural, migrant and racialised spaces, anxieties about spaces and places and belonging, transnational understandings of Australia's place in the region and world, and how all these are shaped and affected by cultural memories of the past and the cultural politics of the present.


Students who complete this subject should be able to:

  • comprehend and engage with a range of interdisciplinary approaches to the imaging of Australian space, including historical, sociological, political and cultural texts and debates
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of key arguments in spatial analysis and about the creation of images
  • develop a case study approach to issues of space in Australia, based upon engagement in an active reading group and then the application of these ideas to a specific site
  • exhibit a capacity for critical thinking about Australian culture and society
  • demonstrate interdisciplinary skills in research, analysis, and written and verbal communication that draw upon materials and concepts presented and discussed in seminars
Assessment: Seminar presentation accompanied by a 1000 word discussion paper submitted within a week of the presentation 20% (allocated in week one). and a major essay of 4000 words 80% (due at the end of semester).
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • be able to demonstrate that they can take responsibility for their own learning and academic endeavour. be able to think in theoretical and / or have strong foundation for empirical research
  • be able to demonstrate the time-management skills required for conducting a sustained and developmental piece of independent study.
  • be able to demonstrate skills of information retrieval, management of ideas, and orchestration of diverse sources in the process of research construction and presentation.
  • be able to situate the significance of their research in the context of broader social, ethical and cultural contexts.
  • be able to communicate their research findings in a clear and intelligible manner.
Related Course(s): M.A.Australian Studies (Advanced Seminars and Shorter Thesis)
Master of Arts in History (Advanced Seminars and Shorter Thesis)
Master of International Studies
Master of Landscape Architecture
Master of Landscape Architecture
Master of Urban Planning
Postgraduate Diploma in Urban Design
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 200 point program - full time over 18 months
200 point program - full time over 24 months
Art History
Art History
Art History
Art History
Australian Studies
Australian Studies
Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies
Cultural Studies
Moving Image
Screen Studies
Screen and Cultural Studies

Download PDF version.