Modern History (General)
Course Code: GEHIM/GTHIM
Domain: Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS)
Timetable: Semester 1 and 2
Length of Course: 2 Years
This unit examines developments of significance in the modern era, including the ideas that inspired them
and their far-reaching consequences. Students examine one development or turning point that has helped
to define the modern world. Students explore crucial changes, for example, the application of reason to
human affairs; the transformation of production, capitalism and consumption, transport and
communications; the challenge to social hierarchy and hereditary privilege, and the assertion of inalienable
rights; and the new principles of government by consent. Through their studies, students explore the nature
of the sources for the study of modern history and build their skills in historical method through inquiry.
The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are: what makes an historical development
significant; the changing nature and usefulness of sources; the changing representations and interpretations
of the past; and the historical legacy of these developments for the Western world and beyond.
This unit examines significant movements for change in the 20th century that led to change in society,
including people’s attitudes and circumstances. These movements draw on the major ideas described in
Unit 1, have been connected with democratic political systems, and have been subject to political debate.
Through a detailed examination of one major 20th century movement, students investigate the ways in
which individuals, groups and institutions have challenged existing political structures, accepted social
organisation, and prevailing economic models, to transform societies. The key conceptual understandings
covered in this unit are: the factors leading to the development of movements; the methods adopted to
achieve effective change; the changing nature of these movements; and changing perspectives of the value
of these movements and how their significance is interpreted.
This unit examines the characteristics of modern nations in the 20th century; the crises that confronted
nations, their responses to these crises and the different paths nations have taken to fulfil their goals.
Students study the characteristics of one nation. Students investigate crises that challenged the stability of
government, the path of development that was taken and the social, economic and political order that was
either established or maintained. Students examine the ways in which the nation dealt with internal
divisions and external threats. They emerge with a deeper understanding of the character of a modern
nation. The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are the reliability and usefulness of evidence;
cause and effect; continuity and change; significance; empathy; contestability; and changing representations
This unit examines some significant and distinctive features of the modern world within the period
1945–2001 in order to build students’ understanding of the contemporary world – that is, why we are here
at this point in time. These include changes to the nature of the world order: shifting international tensions,
alliances and power blocs; the emergence of Asia as a significant international political and economic force,
and the nature of engagement by and with Australia; the nature of various conflicts and regional and
international attempts to create peace and security. Students study one of these features. As part of their
study, they should follow and make relevant connections with contemporary events. The key conceptual
understandings covered in this unit are: causation; continuity and change; historical significance and
changing perspectives and interpretations of the past; and contestability.
Students undertaking this course may wish to consider tertiary studies in:
This course suits direct workforce entry into the following:
- Museum Officer
- Education Assistant
Estimated Charges: $35 per year