Feeling the Past: A History of Emotion

Subject HIST40034 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 4 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject is not offered in 2013.

Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 2-hour seminar per week for 12 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

10 hours per week: total time commitment 120 hours


Usually admission to the postgraduate diploma or fourth-year honours in history (or in a relevant program) or enrolment in a relevant coursework Masters program



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 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: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Mary Tomsic mtomsic@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

This seminar will provide students with an opportunity to examine the ways in which a variety of scholars have approached theorising and writing about emotions. It will consider various disciplinary approaches to the topic, both in an historical perspective and in a contemporary one, by reading a range of texts on how emotions are represented, constructed and understood. A range of emotions will be explored such as fear, grief, trauma, love, desire, and pleasure. Different text types, for instance literature, diaries and letters, will be read as well as oral histories, novels and films across time and place through themes such as war, migration, sexuality, gender and race.


Students who complete this subject will

  • demonstrate a critical understanding of how scholars have theorised emotions;
  • understand and reflect upon theoretical and methodological issues involved with writing a history of emotions;
  • improve research and interpretative skills by developing a research project which is theoretically informed;
  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a particular topic as examined in the research project;
  • demonstrate the ability to analyse, report on and discuss all reading material.

A seminar presentation accompanied by a 1000 word discussion paper to be submitted within one week of the presentation (15%); a written research task 4000 words (75%) due end of semester; seminar participation (10%).

Hurdle Requirement: Students are required to attend a minimum of 75% of classes in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 2% per working day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

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:

Students who complete this subject will

  • Research, through competent use of the library and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research
  • critical thinking and analysis, through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion and by determining the strength of an argument
  • thinking in theoretical terms, seminar discussion, essay writing and engagement in the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences
  • understanding of social, ethical and cultural context, through the contextualisation of judgments, developing critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument
  • communicating knowledge intelligibly and economically, through essay writing and tutorial discussion
  • written communication, through essay preparation and writing
  • public speaking, through tutorial discussion and class presentations
  • attention to detail, through essay preparation and writing
  • time management and planning through managing and organising workloads for recommended reading, essay and assignment completion
Related Course(s): Master of Arts in History (Advanced Seminars and Shorter Thesis)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: History

Download PDF version.