Course Outline

HIS201 The uses and abuses of history

Course Coordinator:Amy Clarke ( School:School of Law and Society

2023Semester 1

UniSC Sunshine Coast

UniSC Moreton Bay

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.


Online You can do this course without coming onto campus.

Please go to for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


The past is present, everywhere: historians, politicians, museum curators, journalists and internet commentators all provide different versions of it. Historical events are constantly remembered, celebrated, reimagined, trivialised, repressed and forgotten. This influences communities' and individuals' values, identities, beliefs and practices. This course analyses and explores how major historical events have been appropriated, contested and denied for political, cultural and economic gain, and encourages students to reflect on the crucial role historians can play.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – 1 hour non-sequential online materials 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On campus face-to-face two hour seminar / workshop. 2hrs Week 1 13 times
Learning materials – 1 hour non-sequential online materials. 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Zoom two hour seminar / workshop. 2hrs Week 1 13 times

Course Topics

Historians and historical practice

Mis-use and misunderstandings of history in medieval and Early Modern period

Mis-use and misunderstandings of history in 19th to 21st centuries

Conspiracy theories, historical revision and historical denial

What level is this course?

200 Level (Developing)

Building on and expanding the scope of introductory knowledge and skills, developing breadth or depth and applying knowledge and skills in a new context. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally, undertaken in the second or third full-time year of an undergraduate programs.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Critically reflect on crucial events in history and their relevance to the present Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
2 Identify and argue how different interpretations of past events might influence current ideologies and political practices Creative and critical thinker
3 Evaluate and explore the role professional historians can play in increasingly digital and global societies Empowered
4 Communicate clearly and effectively the critical issues of historical practice in oral and written formats Empowered

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the UniSC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

You will have a demonstrated knowledge of historical practice which includes: experience with primary and secondary sources; historical analysis and interpretation; some basic knowledge of different historical approaches; content knowledge from focused studies in national and global histories.

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

Timely and detailed feedback is provided for each assessment. Feedback is provided both within text and general comments to build scholarly skills. Students are able to seek feedback through face-to-face discussion with the course coordinator. Tutorials will include extended discussion and review of the assessment task requirements and scope.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Essay Individual 25%
1250 words
Week 4 Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All 2 Oral Individual 30%
6 minutes, with 2 minutes of questions
Refer to Format In Class
All 3 Essay Individual 45%
2250 words
Exam Period Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Short Essay
To develop a critical reflection, supported with appropriate academic research, of the ways that ideas about history have evolved over time and have influenced contemporary societies.
Product: Essay
A critical reflection, using 1 historical event, on ONE of the set ‘aphorisms’ or ‘sayings’ relating to history (Please refer to Canvas for list of sayings).

Students must choose one of the sayings (see Canvas), and use one historical event or example (students are encouraged to come up with their own historical event or example, though they can ask the Coordinator/Tutor for suggestions), that supports a discussion of the saying. In developing their ideas for the essay’s argument, students should consider:
•	How accurate or correct or ‘true’ is the quote/aphorism in reference to history (and the ‘doing’ of history: researching, writing and learning)?
•	What event or example from history best demonstrates this, and why?

In the essay students should:
•	Offer a brief explanation of the chosen quote/aphorism (what does the quote mean, who is generally understood to have said it, and in what context?);
•	Develop a critical argument about its relevance or irrelevance to our understanding of history and the relevance of history to contemporary society;
•	Use one historical event/example to support the discussion.

This essay must be written using appropriate academic language and formatting, and must include references (in-text or footnotes) and a list of sources/bibliography. The referencing style used should be Harvard, APA, or Chicago 16A (Footnotes). 

Footnotes, direct quotes, and list of sources/bibliography will not be included in the word count.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
The extent to which appropriate historic events are identified and used to illustrate how ideas about history have evolved over time.
1 2 3 4
The ability to research and critically reflect, using at least 10-15 relevant academic sources, on the influence of history in contemporary societies
1 2 3 4
The ability to communicate effectively in writing, with correct formatting and referencing
1 2 3 4
All - Assessment Task 2:Oral Presentation
To effectively communicate a well-researched argument about the evolving understandings and different perspectives of a controversial historical event.
Product: Oral
In-class presentations in Week 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Conduct initial research on the different historical perspectives of ONE controversial historical event (Please refer to Canvas for list of events to be chosen from). 

Note: The historical event chosen for this task will also be used in Task 3. 

In an 8 minute (6 minutes content, 2 minutes questions) presentation, explain how and why these different historical interpretations/perspectives have emerged relating to the controversial event. 

The presentation should focus on the following (not necessarily in this order):
-	the actual, known, proven facts about the event;
-	the methods used by historians to conduct research and develop interpretations of the event;
-	the different interpretations of the event and why they matter;

The presentation should be accompanied by a PowerPoint that includes references and a list of sources.

The presentation should be engaging and professional in tone, be well illustrated and referenced (Harvard, APA or Chicago 16A), and follow a logical structure. Presentations should incorporate primary evidence (historical sources) where appropriate.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Ability to present your argument clearly and effectively, and within the time limit
The quality and originality of your argument, supported with at least 15 relevant academic sources
1 2 3
The ability to reflect critically on the role of history and historians in contemporary societies
1 2 3
Ability to respond clearly and effectively to your classmate’s questions
1 2 3
All - Assessment Task 3:Major Essay
To demonstrate your ability to develop a critical analysis of two controversial historical events (and of the different memories, interpretations and historical accounts of the event[s] over time).
Product: Essay
Long essay of 2250 words in which an argument is constructed about the complex, contradictory, important and/or flawed processes of researching, writing, using and/or applying history. 

Students are to select a second controversial historical event (Please refer to list of possible options on Canvas) and conduct research in order to explain how and why different historical interpretations/perspectives have emerged. In choosing their second event, students should consider how this might match or contrast with the first event researched for Task 2.

Using this research, and that conducted on the first controversial historical event chosen for Task 2, students will build upon their critical reflections and ideas to formulate an argument. 

Students should consider how the two historical events have been interpreted, celebrated, repressed, forgotten, or reinvented. By whom? For what purpose? What does this suggest about the processes of researching, writing and using history?

Analysis should include:
•	Research and consideration of historical secondary sources (academic studies);
•	Research and consideration of relevant primary sources;
•	Critical analysis of how the historical events are remembered or forgotten outside of academia (for instance in media and political discourse, in popular culture, or in artistic works and events).

Note: While Task 3 is directly related to Task 2, students are expected to show significant NEW and RELEVANT research and critical analysis in their Task 3 Major Essay. 

The essay must be written using appropriate academic language and formatting, and must include references (citations/footnotes) and a List of Sources (or Bibliography). The referencing style used should be Harvard, APA, or Chicago 16A (Footnotes). Direct quotes, footnotes/in-text citations, and the List of Sources/Bibliography will not be included in the word count.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Your ability to develop a sound argument, taking into consideration feedback from earlier Tasks, and the further knowledge you have acquired throughout the course
1 2 3 4
Your ability to research and critically reflect—using at least 20 relevant academic sources—on crucial events in history and their changing interpretations over time
1 2 3 4
Your ability to reflect critically on the role of history and historians in contemporary societies
1 2 3 4
Your ability to communicate effectively in writing, with correct formatting and referencing
1 2 3 4

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

Specific requirements


How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


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The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

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Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

For more information, visit

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