Critical Theories

Subject SOTH30001 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Jul-2015 to 04-Sep-2015
Assessment Period End 09-Oct-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 04-Aug-2015
Census Date 14-Aug-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 11-Sep-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: July intensive: Lectures and tutorials scheduled in weeks 1 - 6 of semester 2.
Total Time Commitment:

Total of 170 hours

Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
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:


Assoc Prof John Rundell


Assoc Prof 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.

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students 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.


A literature review of 1000 words (40%) due early in the semester, a class paper of 500 words based on tutorial discussion (10%) due mid-semester, and an essay of 2500 words (50%) due in early October.

Hurdle Requirement: This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75% tutorial participation. Regular participation in tutorials is required.

Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per 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 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
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Anthropology
Social Theory
Social Theory

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