Migrant Nation: Culture and Identity

Subject HIST20075 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A 1.5-hour lecture and a 1-hour tutorial per week for 11 weeks
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours

Prerequisites: None
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: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Assoc Prof Sara Wills


Sara Wills

Subject Overview:

What does it mean to live in a nation that has been built on immigration? What histories, policies and attitudes underpin this experience? And what key issues, challenges and opportunities face Australia and other nations as a result? This subject encourages students to engage critically with the history of Australia as a migrant nation through a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Focusing particularly on the post-Second World War period, topics covered include migration and refugee histories, the politics of immigration, the development of multicultural policies, critical debates about multiculturalism, racial politics, refugee issues, case studies of migrant communities and ethnic/national identities. Taught by specialists in the field, the subject draws on the work of historians, social and cultural theorists, policy makers, activists, writers and artists, and invites students to produce writing and research that explores controversial and contested issues. This subject will appeal to those with an interest in immigration, multiculturalism, refugee studies, ethnic and national identity, and those who seek to understand how history continues to shape contemporary society.

Learning Outcomes:

Students who complete this subject will:

  • demonstrate a detailed knowledge of Australian immigration history, including key periods, policies and contexts;
  • locate, identify and analyse key documents, debates and voices in Australian immigration history, including those sometimes 'hidden from history';
  • understand how history and historical understanding of migration informs contemporary debates and policy contexts;
  • demonstrate an understanding of various conceptual and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the history of immigration;
  • reflect critically on the concept of multiculturalism in an Australian context and in comparison to other nations;
  • produce written research on aspects of Australia's migrant past, including the histories of specific groups and individuals;
  • reflect upon how our understanding of migration has changed over time and in different places and contexts;Identify the significance of the past in the present and in particular the legacy of the White Australia Policy in national and international debates;
  • analyse key texts and articles and produce a prĂ©cis of the key arguments, ideas and information they contain.


Weekly online lecture quiz 5%, 250 word class presentation, 5% (in semester), 1500 word migration heritage essay, 35% (due mid-semester), 2500 word research report 55% (due in the examination period).

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:

Subject readings will be available online

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
Related Course(s): Bachelor of Arts(Media and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Australian Studies

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