Course Outline

HIS300 Questioning History: Explorations in the Thinking and Practice of History

Course Coordinator:Marcus Bussey ( School:School of Law and Society

2022Semester 2

USC Sunshine Coast

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

What is this course about?


Questioning History explores central debates in the thinking and practice of history. This capstone course directly addresses historiographical issues you will have wrestled with through your history major. The course explores in colloquia (dialogical group settings) how questions in history have been addressed by key practitioners and invites you to begin formulating your own responses as an emergent practitioner of the discipline. It looks at how these questions have been constructed and at the role of key historians in shaping the issues and discourse of history today.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – On Campus Workshop Activity 2hrs Week 1 11 times
Seminar – 2 x Whole of course sessions held online via Zoom: 1. What makes for Good History? 2. History and the Future? Weeks 9 and 13 2hrs Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) 2 times
Learning materials – You are required to engage and interact with asynchronous materials and activities accessed through Canvas modules and course readings. 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – The workshop is synchronous using scheduled online zoom tutorials. 2hrs Week 1 11 times
Learning materials – You are required to engage and interact with asynchronous materials and activities accessed through Canvas modules and course readings 1hr Week 1 13 times
Seminar – 2 x Whole of course sessions held online via Zoom: 1. What makes for Good History? 2. History and the Future? Weeks 9 and 13 2hrs Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) 2 times

Course Topics

Part 1

  1. What are the ‘rules’ of historical practice?
  2. Can history be objective?
  3. What is the role of theory in the practice of history?
  4. What is the role of narrative and meaning in historical thought?

Part 2

  1. Where are women in history?
  2. How should historians handle the history of emotions/feelings?
  3. What are the uses of history?
  4. What makes for good method in history?

Part 3

  1. Should historians privilege the written word?
  2. What is history’s relationship to the future?

What level is this course?

300 Level (Graduate)

Demonstrating coherence and breadth or depth of knowledge and skills. Independent application of knowledge and skills in unfamiliar contexts. Meeting professional requirements and AQF descriptors for the degree. May require pre-requisites where discipline specific introductory or developing knowledge or skills is necessary. Normally undertaken in the third or fourth full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

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 Identify and illustrate key historical positions and the theoretical perspectives that underpin them Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
2 Develop and support your arguments (or reflect critically) about selected topics in historiography Creative and critical thinker
3 Engage in historical debates and defend and critique theoretical positions in colloquia Knowledgeable
Creative and critical thinker
4 Understand and value the relationship between the historian and their object of study Empowered
5 Review and critique a range of historical approaches Creative and critical thinker
6 Research and write a professional Annotated Bibliography Knowledgeable

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the USC 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; knowledge of various historical interpretive traditions; 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 Written Piece Individual 25%
1000 words
Week 3 Online Submission
All 2 Oral Individual 25%
10 Minutes
Refer to Format In Class
All 3 Essay Individual 50%
3000 words
Exam Period Online Assignment Submission with plagiarism check
All - Assessment Task 1:Written Piece
Engage with the first 3 weeks' readings and discussion. Write a Blog post for your peers on the question: "Can history be objective?"
Product: Written Piece
Blog post demonstrating capacity to reference your ideas when necessary. First or third person voice are permitted. Capacity to sequence your reasoning and link it to a clear historical example.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
the quality of your reasoning
1 5 6
your ability to effectively identify and illustrate key themes of the readings
1 4 5 6
your ability to assess the implications of central concepts from the readings for your historical practice
1 5 6
identification of links and tensions between readings
5 6
ability to write clearly, accurately in a blog format (informal essay)
All - Assessment Task 2:Theoretical Presentation
Engage in historical debate; develop and defend your argument and critique theoretical positions in colloquia
Product: Oral
Submit: Week 7-9. Develop an answer/response/proposal to one of the questions dealt with in colloquia and laid out in the teaching/thematic schedule. Present your answer/response/proposal in colloquia and deal with questions, critique and suggestions. Explore any theoretical and practical implications of your proposal dialogically with peers. You will have 10 minutes to present and 5 minutes to respond.
In this session you will be expected to:
1. offer a brief statement of intent; i.e. a thesis statement
2. lay out your proposal with clarity and brevity
3. explore the implications of your proposal
4. ground your response in a theoretical context
5. offer suggestions for further consideration
6. respond to input from your audience
This is a presentation to the class involving the defence of a chosen historiographical proposition.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
the quality of your answer/response/proposal
1 2 3 4 5
your ability to effectively identify and illustrate the implications of your proposal
2 3 5
the situation of your thinking in a theoretical context
1 3 4
ability to evaluate the thinkers and theories that you use
2 3 5
ability to present your argument in a concise and structured manner
ability to respond to input from the audience
All - Assessment Task 3:Summative Essay
You will write an essay that demonstrates your engagement with a course question.
Product: Essay
Write a 3000 word essay. This essay will explore a topic of your own choice which you have developed in consultation with the course coordinator. The essay will be a theoretical work in which an understanding of the chosen topic is demonstrated through application to a case study. Your essay will demonstrate wide reading, inter-textual connection, clear conceptual orientation and the detailing of practical implications for the thinking and practice of history
No. Learning Outcome assessed
its completeness and usefulness as an exploration of the chosen theme
1 2 4 5
the quality of your engagement with course questions and themes
2 4 5
the extent, relevance, depth and quality of your research
1 2 5
ability to link theory and practice
1 2 5
2 4
correct referencing

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. Directed study hours may vary by location. 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

Eligibility for Supplementary Assessment

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.


USC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

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

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

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

Visit the USC website:

Student Charter

USC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

General Enquiries

  • In person:
    • USC Sunshine Coast - Student Central, Ground Floor, Building C, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
    • USC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
    • USC SouthBank - Student Central, Building A4 (SW1), 52 Merivale Street, South Brisbane
    • USC Gympie - Student Central, 71 Cartwright Road, Gympie
    • USC Fraser Coast - Student Central, Student Central, Building A, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Hervey Bay
    • USC Caboolture - Student Central, Level 1 Building J, Cnr Manley and Tallon Street, Caboolture
  • Tel:+61 7 5430 2890