The History of Now

Subject HIST10011 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

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 2 hour lecture per week and one 1 hour tutorial in weeks 2-11.
Total Time Commitment:

A total of 8.5 hours per week





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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:


Prof Elizabeth Malcolm, Prof Stephen Wheatcroft


Sean Scalmer

Subject Overview:

Today the world is being transformed at an ever-increasing rate. We now live in a digital age, with new forms of communication that were scarcely imagined just a
decade ago; scientists tell us that the world’s climate is changing drastically, threatening our food supplies and leaving us vulnerable to more extreme weather events; governments warn of the dangers of terrorism and wage wars against it in many countries, including Australia; at the same time, a globalized economic system is struggling with major debt and credit crises; economic shifts seem to point to the decline of the West and the rise of Asia; population grows, cities boom and migration increases as people flee war and poverty; and, at the same time, many people are experiencing major changes in their personal lives: in family, gender and sexual relationships. Ho do we explain these historical changes?

This subject provides an historical perspective on major trends that are shaping our lives today and will undoubtedly continue to shape them into the future. It asks why such changes are occurring; it explores the roots of the ‘Now’, asking: how did we get to ‘Now’; and it also attempts to look ahead and comprehend the future of the ‘Now’.
The subject will bring to bear the tools of the historian to analyse some of the most dramatic developments affecting our lives today.


On completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • reflect critically on the complexities of periodization in History;
  • demonstrate familiarity with the major social, economic, political and cultural developments of the modern world
  • demonstrate an ability to analyse primary and secondary material in writing about the past.

Document analysis, 1,000 words (30%) due mid semester; research essay, 2,500 words (60%) due late semester; tutorial journal, 500 words (10%) due late semester.

Hurdle requirement: students must attend a minimum of 75% of tutorials in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days, no late assessment will be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Subject readings will be available online

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject students should be able to

  • demonstrate research skills through competent use of the library and other information sources;
  • show critical thinking and analysis through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument;
  • demonstrate understanding of social, ethical and cultural context through the contextualisation of judgements, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities, and constructing an argument
Links to further information:
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History
History Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Middle East and Islam
The United States
20th Century History
Economics in History

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