Students must complete 80 credit points with no less than three Level 3 units.

Students must complete the compulsory Level 1 unit

English, Text & Writing

In 2013, this unit replaced by 101907 - Introduction to Literacy Studies. This unit covers a number of issues within literary and textual studies and creative writing, focusing on the areas of modernism and postmodernism. It considers the historical and cultural contexts of literary and textual production, examines a variety of literary genres and styles, and covers a range of contemporary critical and theoretical approaches.

Note: Not all units will be offered each year. Units will be offered on a rotational basis.

Level 1 unit pool

Approaches to Text

The production and reception of texts are central to the ways in which we understand the world and who we are. Texts mediate our relationship to the institutions in which we participate, including the media (print and electronic), education, government, families and our private lives. Approaches to Text provides an introduction to understanding the production and analysis of texts. By an exploration of topics such as rhetoric, semiotics, critical discourse analysis, genre, narrative theory and creative writing, the unit develops a set of skills that are vital for interpreting and critiquing texts and textual practice.

Level 2 unit pool

Children's Literature: Image and Text

This unit focuses on the interrelationships between image and text in children's literature. The unit examines both picture books and other image-based children's texts, including electronic texts and graphic novels. The unit will examine children's texts as cultural artefacts, theories of visual literacy and how image and text combine to create meaning. Students will have the opportunity to create their own picture book for their final project.

Comedy and Tragedy

This unit will examine the theory, writing and performance of Western Tragedy and comedy. The generic terms "tragedy" and "comedy" will provide signposts for both historical and theoretically modern approaches to a range of plays. Texts selected from the period since 1950 may represent comedy and/or tragedy in popular culture, and may have been written for media other than the stage, such as television and film.

Critical Discourse Analysis

The principal means of communication in our culture is language, it shapes and patterns our world, socialises us, and is fundamental to almost all forms of interaction. Critical Discourse Analysis takes language and text as its objects of study, seeing these as technologies for social interaction, representation and communication. By exploring both the grammatical structure of the English language and its use and development in and for social contexts and purposes within a post-structuralist framework, Critical Discourse Analysis develops analytical, interpretive and critical skills for students. Critical Discourse Analysis has the potential for application in many areas of study and professional work.

History of the English Language

In 2013, this unit replaced by 102043 – Historical Linguistics. The aim of this unit is to familiarise students with the historical development of English from Old English through to the modern varieties of English around the world today. It explores the linguistic and historical influences on English from early times to the present and examines these influences as they reveal themselves in the grammar, phonology and vocabulary of older and modern varieties of English

Hypertext Fictions

In this unit students create their own hypertext (electronically linked) fiction. They are introduced to an e-learning environment using the network platform WebCT and the creative writing program Storyspace. The unit explores and experiments with aspects of fiction, such as plot, narrative, genre and character in the context of the electronic medium of hypertext. It also considers the history and theory of hypertext writing, including postmodern and poststructuralist theories of text and of the subject, and the new rhetoric and stylistics of hypertext. Students also critically evaluate existing on-line hypertext fiction.

International Texts and Contexts

This unit investigates social and political discourses of a selection of literary (the novel, poetry, memoir) and cultural texts that highlight aspiration, ideals and tragedies of national and global significance. It will explore concepts and manifestations of self, nation, community, empire, culture and art through a study of textual constructions of the individual's negotiation of interacting and often competing ideologies. A range of written and visual texts will be use.

Introduction to Film Studies

The unit will introduce students to the key theoretical strands of film studies and key concepts in the analysis of film. The unit will explore techniques of narrative, performance, genre, realism and spectatorship, as well as introducing methods to analyse the use of editing, cinematography and sound. A case study of several key historical film movements or genres will introduce students to the study of cinema in its cultural contexts. The unit will also address the transformations in screen cultures as a result of digital technologies and new media.

Special Topics in English, Text and Writing

This is a "shell" unit, in which new unit content and critical approaches in English, Text & Writing can be trialled. Content will depend on student requirements in conjunction with staff research and teaching interests. The unit might also be used to provide students with the opportunity to undertake primary research or a project in the area of English, Text & Writing.

The Musical

The Musical will involve the examination of the history and development of the stage musical in its social and cultural context. The unit will also explore the structure of the musical as a ‘text’ and performance genre, looking closely at narrative structure, the structure of songs and the construction of character types and interaction. ‘The Musical’ will also involve students in the critical analysis of the representation of gender and race in the stage musical.

The Novel

This unit explores the status and success of the novel as the dominant modern literary form. It examines aspects of the history and development of the novel from the seventeenth century up to the present, along with a range of novelistic texts from one or a number of literary traditions: from classic British and/or American texts to contemporary postcolonial fiction; from the search for the mythical "great Australian novel" to famous and not-so-famous works in languages other than English.

The Structure of English

In 2013, this unit replaced by 101948 - The Structure of Language. This unit aims to give students skills to analyse and understand the structure of the English language, in both spoken and written form from the level of the smallest structural unit to the level of the sentence using techniques and terminology drawn from various schools of linguistics. Students will analyse the English sound system and the English word building system, English vocabulary and the relationships between words, and the grammar and syntax of English

Writing Fiction

In this unit students explore, critically examine and write in a range of fictional forms. They critique a wide variety of published fiction in order to enhance their understanding of approaches, possibilities and techniques, thereby developing a greater capacity to write and critically evaluate their own work. Students create their own fiction in the form of written exercises and assignments, which they will have the opportunity to workshop in a supportive critical environment.

Studies in Postcolonial Literature

This unit focuses on Postcolonial Studies, which has been one of the most important literary and theoretical movements that makes meaning of colonial discourse theory and offers a stringent critique of it at the same time. The field offers ways of understanding literature, culture and society in modern postcolonial nations in Asia and Africa after the collapse of colonial rule. Simultaneously it also affords a re-visioning of the central tenets of Eurocentric thinking that were used to colonise third world nations and thus is a vital mode and methodology for understanding contemporary society. This particular unit will look at models and examples of African postcolonialism from early to late 20th century.

The Sound of Language

In 2013, this unit replaced by 102042 – The Sound of Language. The richness of information conveyed through spoken language owes its form to the combination and recombination of a small number of sounds. In this unit, students will learn the sounds of the world's languages (phonetics) and the ways in which they are combined to build words (phonology). Examples will draw from English, Australian Aboriginal languages, and a diverse range of languages spoken around the world.

Level 3 unit pool

Applied Critical Methods

This unit gives students knowledge of research methods relevant to humanities disciplines. Modules provide advanced instruction in developing a research topic, evidence-based research and Human Research Ethics processes and policy.

American Literature

This unit explores American literature from its colonial beginnings to the present. Issues to be examined will include some of the following: the construction of a national literature, struggles for justice and human rights, intersection of race, gender, and sexuality, the ideology of American Exceptionalism, and the rise and fall of “The American Dream.” Texts may include fiction, poetry, and drama.

Australian Textual Studies

This unit aims to increase students' knowledge of the scope and variety of Australian writing. It examines a range of Australian texts from a number of contexts, usually organised along historical and/or thematic lines, and considers the role of writing - both "high" literature and more popular forms - in constructions of Australian culture. Issues of place, gender and race may be foregrounded, and consideration given to how these influence images of Australia. Film and television texts may also be included or emphasised.

Children's Literature

This unit explores a wide range of literary texts created for children, from folktales, fairytales and myths to contemporary examples. It focuses on the relationship between children’s texts, society and culture. The unit will examine a variety of genres and themes, for example, the experience of childhood as constructed by adult authors of children’s texts; post-colonial children’s literature; the emergence and development of distinctly Australian children’s texts; the development of “young adult” literature; the impact of new technologies on children’s literature; and role of art in children’s literature.

Creative Non-Fiction

This unit provides students with an advanced understanding of the issues, processes and practical questions involved in the writing of creative non-fiction. It is intended that students will gain both enhanced theoretical knowledge of writing practices and, through workshop participation and practical exercises, develop both their own writing skills and the ability to critique the writing of others on the basis of sound understanding of the characteristics of the genre.

Creative Writing Project

This unit extends students beyond the writing of individual stories and poems into larger areas of creative writing, such as the discontinuous narrative, the novella, and the cycle of related poems and/or stories. It involves students in the process of developing a major project from an initial set of ideas, through the stages of drafting to a "finished" product, using workshop techniques, individual interviews and peer critiquing. It aims to give each student some experience of a relationship with readers (fellow students) and an editor (the tutor).

Film and Affect

The concept of affect refers to intense feeling or emotion, and this unit examines different ways that affect has been understood in cinema. The unit explores the way that diverse cinematic genres have developed very different strategies to engage the spectator in this intense way, and discusses conventions, such as techniques of narrative, cinematography and performance. The unit examines models of affect derived from early film, the transformation of these models with the development of narrative, and the evolution of affective strategies in contemporary cinema. Examples may be drawn from early cinema, experimental cinema, political cinema, documentary or mainstream genres such as melodrama or horror. Through an analysis of the strategies used in various genres, we will raise broader questions about the nature of spectatorship in different historical and cultural contexts.

Film and Drama

This unit offers a survey of one or more of the following: drama, drama on film and film drama. It will examine key concepts in cinema theory, dramatic form and film production. Comparison may be made between theatre texts and film adaptations related to the work of specific dramatists; or drama texts may be considered in themselves (often with the screening of filmed versions of these dramas). Alternatively, film itself will be considered as a disinct dramatic form whose contours will be traced in relation to the work of important directors. Viewing films will form an integral part of this unit and students will be expected to attend screenings of films as well as a lecture and tutorial.

Humanities Internship

This unit aims to provide third year humanities students with first-hand knowledge of workplaces or research processes related to their chosen field of study (major), such as art galleries, museums, libraries, local and state government, tourism and administration or in academic contexts. The unit will introduce students to various fields in which the skills developed over two years of study in humanities can be applied. It will augment their study and provide much needed work experience. The internship placement and/or project will be chosen by the student in consultation with the staff member responsible for the major area and the placement will be overseen and the academic work assessed by the member of staff responsible for the major area of study relevant to the internship.

Literary Animals

This unit explores a selection of literary works that invite us to examine the tenuous border separating the “human” from the “non-human." Readings will allow students to learn how literary texts employ various formal techniques (allegory, anthropomorphism, etc.) that call into question the conventional opposition between human and animal. Particular attention will be given to the intersection of animality, race, gender, and sexuality. Readings may include one or more national literatures, such as American or Australian literature.

Literature and Philosophy

This unit will examine ways in which literature and philosophy interact. It will consider the ways in which literature and philosophy offer important and different ways of thinking. And it will consider the differences between literature and philosophy. Literature will be understood to involve thinking through sensations, while philosophy will be understood to involve thinking through concepts. The unit will examine examples of interaction between literary texts and philosophical texts, considering how literary effects can inhabit philosphical texts and philosophical ideas can permeate literary texts. The unit will consider frequently occurring themes within both literature and philosophy, such as ethics (ways of living and acting).

Literature and Trauma

This unit considers the relationship between narrative and trauma and writing and trauma. It looks at the discourses of trauma, including psychoanalytic and psychiatric, philosophical and that belonging to literary criticism. It considers the politics of testimony and trauma in history; the role of narrative in healing and the remaking of Self; the crises of the "witness" and the limits of narrative in recalling trauma in psychoanalysis, literature, and history. It considers the socially produced limits of narratives of trauma. It also considers the meeting point between trauma, its wound and writing. The unit canvasses a raft of life-writing and fictional writing whose subject is trauma and or traumatic experience.

Literature, History and Culture

This unit focuses on literary and cultural history up to the early twentieth century, and may encompass study of a range of texts from classical literature to modernism. Depending upon individual staff expertise, particular emphases will include early modern (sixteenth and seventeenth century), Augustan, Romantic and Victorian literature.


This unit aims to introduce students to important works of literature from the earlier part of the 20th century. Throughout the course we will be concentrating on literature but will make reference to other art forms (in particular the visual arts) to provide the intellectual context necessary to understanding the ideas of the period. There will be a close study of a small number of important novels or works of poetry from the period, with a close consideration of techniques of writing and the way these techniques contribute to an understanding of the themes in the works.

Modernity and Cinema

This unit will engage with the question of how social and aesthetic issues interact in films by examining specific questions which are related to cinema history. Issues of identity will be used to focus upon the ways in which historical contexts interrelate with artistic practice. The unit will consider the process of creating emotions, the consideration of techniques of production and the manipulation of cinema language, the use of narrative or non-narrative form to convey the sense of reality, (or the unreal, the uncertain).

Queering Text

This unit explores the idea of queering texts - texts that queer or texts that are queered by particular readings. The exploration will be propelled by a consideration of gender, sexuality and/or desire and the process of 'making strange'. This unit explores theories of estrangement, alienation, and dis/placement ranging from Formalist ideas of defamiliarisation and foregrounding in relation to language and other semiotic systems, Brecht's politics of alienation, Bakhtin's work on the body and carnival to contemporary notions of performativity and homographesis. Throughout, the unit will be oriented to the use of language in the literary process of queering.

Race in Literature

This unit explores a selection of modern literary works that focus on the question of "race." Readings will allow students to learn how notions of race have shifted over time, giving particular attention to how mixed-race people challenge dyadic conceptions of racial difference. Readings may include one or more national literatures, such as American or Australian literature.

Representing Crime

This unit deals with the evolution of the figure of the detective and of the criminal; the development of an aesthetics of crime from the later 18th Century; the dynamic nature of fiction, film and television genres of detection. Literatures of sensation, detective fictions, true crime writing and the non-fiction novel will all be examined to allow an in-depth analysis of the changing ethical and psychological character of the detective, and of his nemeses. The crime story in film, television and in other new media may also be addressed to facilitate an analysis of changing cultural contexts for the crime story.

Short Fiction in the Americas

This unit surveys short fiction written in the Americas in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese during the twentieth century. It examines the history of short fictional genres, theories of their functioning, and the ways in which they register and transmit the various national and regional cultures of the Americas. The unit allows students majoring in Spanish to undertake language-specific assessment tasks (reading original texts in Spanish and writing their essay in Spanish) while other students read the texts and complete their assessment tasks in English.

Talking Normal: Sociolinguistics and Modern Literature

This unit studies the ways in which speech disorders like stuttering and mutism, along with other ‘non-standard’ forms of language (dialects, accents, slang, etc.) have been portrayed and oftentimes stigmatized in twentieth-century literary and visual culture. Students will engage with a range of genres and texts, all of which deal with the question of how we are defined based on the way we speak. Readings may include one or more national literatures such as American, British, European, and Australian literature.

Text and Discourse in English

In 2013, this unit replaced by 101946 - Discourse Analysis. This unit explores language at the text or discourse level, overviewing several linguistic approaches to the analysis of discourse and focusing on the role of features such as context, social purpose, appropriateness, and textual cohesion and coherence in the production of texts.

Women in Arabic and Islamic Literature

Beginning with Nisa — the chapter of the holy Quran dedicated to women— and a collection of pertinent aĥadiţh, this unit focuses on the impact that Islam’s philosophy has had on various Muslim and Arab cultures by examining literature from throughout the Arabo-Islamic civilization. Students are introduced to a variety of interpretations of the role of women in Islam and how these interpretations are reflected in literary and non-literary texts. Students learn to detect the tremendous influence that Islam has had on Arabic texts and cultures, even those which at first appear to be of a secular nature.

World Cinema

This unit surveys contemporary world cinema in a range of languages in order to address a range of linguistic and cultural issues, including the role of subtitling and dubbing in cross-cultural communication. The unit allows students majoring in a Language other than English to enrol in a language specific tutorial (Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Japanese or Spanish) and other students to enrol in a tutorial conducted in English.

World Literature in Translation

This unit examines representative works of world literature written in languages other than English in order to address a range of literary and cultural issues, including the role of translation in cross-cultural communication. The unit allows students majoring in Italian or Japanese to enrol in a language specific tutorial, and other students to enrol in a tutorial conducted in English.

Writing and Society

This unit explores the social dimensions of literature, both generally, by considering the role played by tradition, authorship, genre and style in the literary exploration of values, and in specific terms, through a close examination of works which have had an important social impact in their time, including those in translation, from a range of contemporary literatures. The lecturers are members of the Writing and Society Research Group, many of whom are practising authors.

Writing For Performance

In this unit students will consider the history and theory of a selection of performance traditions including Greek tragedy, Elizabethan and Jacobean and modern drama and post-modern performance and write scripts for one or a number of media, including screen (film and television), dramatic theatre, performance poetry and song lyrics and contemporary performance.

Writing Poetry

In this unit students examine the various forms, ways and means of writing poetry and, where appropriate, song lyrics. Students are taught to analyse and write poetry from a writer's rather than a reader's point of view, and how there is graft in the craft of poetry, even if techniques and methods vary. The workshop format will give a greater understanding and motivation in the development of the field of writing poetry.

Writing Portfolio

This is a production unit enabling students to develop a professional portfolio of published writing in a variety of genres. Students are given the opportunity to work in both electronic and print modes, and in collaboration with visual designers.

19th Century American Literature

This unit focuses on literature from the American Renaissance through to the end of the Civil War. Issues to be examined will include some of the following: the construction of a national literature, the ideology of American Exceptionalism, the tension between the religious and the secular, and the clash between freedom and slavery. Texts may include fiction, poetry, and drama.

The Space of Literature

This unit considers philosophies of writing by 'drilling down' through the work of one philosopher or through a survey of philosophers. Philosophies of writing are found in the thinking of the Sophists, Classical Greek philosophy, Continental philosophy, as well as in the work of philosophers of new media. The focus upon philosophies of writing is to develop student's understanding of the pragmatic and performative nature of writing and with that the question of ethics in relation to creative writing. These are important concepts to advanced literary theory inquiry and will be tackled in this unit in depth.