What will I study?
Your course structure
The Bachelor of Arts requires the successful completion of 24 subjects (300-points), including at least one major. Most students study eight subjects each year (usually four subjects in each semester) for three years full-time, or the part-time equivalent.
Most Arts majors require 100 points of study (usually eight subjects) for attainment. The majority of Arts minors require 75 points of study (usually 6 subjects) for attainment. This means out of the 300 point program, you have the opportunity to achieve two majors in your course as well as a minor. You will also complete breadth studies and other complimentary Arts subjects.
Completing your minor
If you are taking Development Studies as a minor, you must complete:
- 12.5 points (usually one subject) of level 1 compulsory subjects and 12.5 points of level 1 elective subjects (usually taken at first year)
- 12.5 points (usually one subject ) of level 2 compulsory subjects and 12.5 points of level 2 elective subjects (usually second year)
- 12.5 points (usually one subject) of level 3 compulsory subjects and 12.5 points of Level 3 elective subjects (usually third year)
Breadth is a unique feature of the Melbourne curriculum. It gives you the chance to explore subjects outside of arts, developing new perspectives and learning to collaborate with others who have different strengths and interests — just as you will in your future career.
Some of our students use breadth to explore creative interests or topics they have always been curious about. Others used breadth to improve their career prospects by complementing their major with a language, communication skills or business expertise.
Explore this minor
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this minor.
- The Developing World 12.5 pts
This subject is an introduction to the developing world and development studies from the perspectives of Anthropology, Political Science, Economics, Sociology and Geography. Beginning with a critical examination of the legacies of colonialism, we will ask to what extent they can be argued to have created the current divide between the developed, global North and the developing or under-developed global South. We will then focus on the relationship between rich and poor countries in an increasingly globalised world, identifying the manifestations of global inequality and ways of addressing it. Students will also examine the roles of international organisations and global agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals in mediating relations between global North and South. Key development issues such as poverty, aid, debt, trade, migration, climate change and sustainability will be investigated through the use of case studies from Africa, Latin America and Asia.
- Famine: The Geography of Scarcity 12.5 pts
There are over 800 million people in the world who are chronically malnourished, and world hunger is rising. Yet the world already produces enough food to feed 1.5 times the global population. This subject explains the physical and social drivers of hunger, famines, and related crises in social-ecological systems. It proposes theories that explain famines and crises of scarcity, and tests these with evidence and case studies. In this way the subject introduces key issues, concepts, and theories central to geography, development, environmental studies and environmental science. The subject is interdisciplinary, providing students with a broad range of knowledge and analytical tools. Specifically, the subject draws together science and social science, introducing students to multiple disciplinary knowledge and practices.
- Anthropology: Studying Self and Other 12.5 pts
Anthropology explores the different ways people live their lives. In this subject, an introduction to foundational knowledge in the discipline, you will be exposed to a variety of social and cultural forms around the world and the methods and theories developed to understand them as diverse expressions of a shared human condition. Topical issues that will be encountered include how different peoples around the world experience and react to pleasure, suffering and death; use ritual, religion and magic to understand and change their worlds; organise their sexual and family lives and their friendship networks; create and maintain their identities; and maintain and resist the relations of power in which they are all enmeshed. Comparative ethnographic examples will illustrate a range of disciplinary concerns in anthropological research ethics and practice, the dynamic interaction between processes of order and change in social life, and its effects on how people experience the different worlds they inhabit.
- International Politics 12.5 pts
This subject provides students with an introduction to the actors, institutions, dynamics and key debates that make up contemporary international politics. It equips students to 'go behind the news' of world affairs and understand the deeper structural and political changes and challenges confronting states, citizens and non-state actors in our increasingly interconnected world. Topics covered include the changing nature of war; terrorism; nuclear proliferation; great power rivalry; and the roles of the EU, the US, China and India in international politics; human rights; humanitarian intervention; trade liberalisation and its critics; global inequality; climate change; and the refugee crisis. The topics will be used to demonstrate the relevance of competing theories of international politics, including realism, liberalism and critical theories (such as Marxism and feminism).
- Development in the 21st Century 12.5 pts
This subject introduces students to the evolution of multiple paradigms of development, considers the strategies used to pursue development in practice, and identifies the key trends and issues of development in the 21 st century. We examine the theories promulgated about the developing world - of modernization and 'catch-up', of structuralism and dependency, of human development, alternative and post-development. Students will be encouraged to understand the diverse trajectories of development by close analysis of specific case studies across the world. We will explore the development path of countries in East and South-East Asia, the BRICs and other developing countries. We also review key issues of relevance to the developing world such as poverty and inequality, health, globalization, industrialization, religion and conflict.
- Society and Environments 12.5 pts
This subject aims to think critically and rigorously about the relationship between social and natural worlds. Its primary purpose is to question the idea that the environment exists outside of, and independent from, the realms of science, culture, politics and economy. Students will be introduced to different conceptual frameworks for understanding the environment as a social entity; to the processes by which capitalism and science structures social and environmental relations; and to alternative modes of living in, and thinking about, the environment. These broad themes will be addressed through engaging examples from Australia and beyond. Particular attention will be given to the concept of 'wilderness'; the postcolonial nature of the zoo; ecotourism; the politics of visualising nature (e.g. through wildlife documentary); the 'new natures' of genetic modification; and ideas about 'environmental justice' and ‘climate crisis’.
- Working with Value 12.5 pts
This subject explores how people come to value things as they do, critically engaging with a range of theoretical and ethnographic literature to ask how value may be created, enhanced and realised in different ways. Students will be introduced to ways that anthropologists analyse and interpret variation in economic engagement, examining the assumptions about human behaviour that inform classical, political and culturalist approaches to economics, and where these different approaches locate understandings of value. Ethnographic examples will be used to explore topics such as: 'gift' and 'commodity' economies; diverse economies; debt; capitalism and finance and the meaning of 'money' and its effects. Students should become familiar with some of the different ways and reasons people engage in economic behaviour as well as developing a critical approach to the study of capitalism and transnational economic connections.
- Ethnic Nationalism and the Modern World 12.5 pts
Ethnicity and nationalism are of special concern to anthropologists, especially in instances where anthropology becomes part of nationalist discourse. This subject considers ethnicity and nationalism through the in-depth analysis of a case study from the developing world, but draws on comparative material from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe and the Pacific. Students will examine different theoretical approaches to ethnicity, nationalism and ethnic nationalism, in particular the relationships between the formation of nation states and processes of 'development', 'transition' and 'underdevelopment'; the roles of actors, from political actors to ordinary people, in the construction of national projects; the relationships between historic and contemporary processes in the construction of national projects; how national projects are constructed, enforced and culturally maintained and the relationships between globalisation, migration, transnationalism and ethnic nationalism in the modern world.
- Power, Ideology and Inequality 12.5 pts
What sorts of inequalities are intensifying in the contemporary world? What dynamics are producing those intensifications? And how have anthropologists historically conceptualized the inequalities with which they gain firsthand experience through long-term fieldwork? Growing numbers of political and economic anthropologists are committed to exploring the ideological and material means by which systems of inequality are created, sustained, misrecognized, and challenged. Drawing principally on Marxist anthropology, post-structuralism and post-colonialism, this subject looks cross-culturally to explore the interrelationships between diverse forms and sources of power, the roles of colonialism and corporate globalization in configuring and sustaining local relations of inequality, and the rise of resistance movements that explicitly challenge exclusions based on class, gender, and ethnicity. Special attention will be paid to the effects of multinational corporations on local power relations and patterns of inequality throughout the world via brand marketing, legal reform, and corporate social responsibility. Case studies will be drawn from Latin America, North America, Africa, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
- Sustainable Development 12.5 pts
Everyone knows what ‘Sustainable Development’ is, but if you stop to think, it may become less clear. Sustainable development has become a chameleon, suiting different needs and fulfilling different roles for different people with different interests. In this subject, we will explore this appealing-yet-slippery idea with the aim of deciding whether it is a suitable concept with which to explore the cultural, environmental, and economic challenges facing society. Is sustainable development a useful idea, do we need to move on, or can we take it back?
In addition to the debates over sustainable development, this subject will provide students with the skills needed to examine, analyse, and report on challenges related to their interests. At its heart, the subject explores the primary question of sustainable development, which is whether it can be useful in a world (seemingly) approaching numerous catastrophic tipping points. The climate is changing, the oceans are acidifying, the soils cannot keep producing our food, and wealth is being concentrated amongst a smaller and smaller segment of the world. Is sustainable development helpful in understanding, and ideally changing, these trends?
There are also more practical considerations surrounding the debate over sustainable development. Some people might be interested in having a greater impact on the world through development projects, micro-credit, or volunteering. Is sustainable development helpful? Can the concept help individuals seeking to improve our world (or at least trying)? Does it help ensure that their efforts are beneficial and not perverted by opposing interests and processes?
It is also worth considering whether sustainable development might not be better thought of as an analytical framing: as a way of pulling apart problems or projects in order to better understand or assess their impact on ecological sustainability, development, or economics? Is sustainable development an analytical tool for making sense of ‘wicked’ problems?
In this subject we will review the history of sustainable development, which draws together literature from Geography, Sociology, Engineering, Psychology, Economics, and the Sciences. We will explore critiques of sustainable development, and force ourselves to consider whether it is possible, practical, or even useful in the ‘real world’. We will explore several key challenges, using sustainable development as a lens or framing. And finally and most creatively, we will attempt to reinterpret sustainable development in a world of growing inequality.
For more information see: http://briansresearch.wordpress.com/teaching/sustainable-development/
- Africa: Environment, Development, People 12.5 pts
This subject introduces students to the physical environment, history and development challenges facing contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa. Students will examine in detail intellectual and ethical debates surrounding the strategies undertaken by postcolonial African states and the overseas development “industry” to tackle poverty, inequality, environmental change and the colonial legacy. Students will consider how Africa’s problems are portrayed and understood by the rest of the world. Topics may include: the physical environment and competing understandings of environmental change; the history and governance of the continent; regional case studies (West Africa and the D.R. Congo); agrarian transformations and rural livelihoods; development projects and rise of the NGO; military conflict and mineral wealth; hunger, famine, and the controversies of the relief industry; forestry; wildlife conservation; and urban geographies.