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Unit details

SRA716 - Shifting Views: the Making of Australia's Identity

Year2015 unit information
Enrolment modes:

Not offered from 2015

Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:


Unit chair:

Ursula de Jong





Incompatible with:


Contact hours:

30 hours of classes and seminars per trimester


Australia's contribution to global culture is assessed and its many achievements recognised. Through painting, sculpture and architecture, literature, music and criticism, we explore the question 'did the new continent inspire a new vision?' We traverse the changes from ethno-archaeology pre-colonialism to a post invasion landscape. Perceptions of ‘civilisation’ are critiqued through Sydney's elegant Georgian houses of the late eighteenth century to the exuberant Victorian excesses of the boom period towards the end of the nineteenth century. Federation in Australia allows us to explore issues of nationalism, empire and the vexed question of an appropriate national style.

As intellectual and physical boundaries change, how does Australia wrestle with modernism? The ‘harbingers of modernism’ – Poole, Annear, Haddon, Dods and Jones for example -  straddle the fin de siecle, through their own writings and recent research, new understandings emerge. Freedom of expression, constraints, allegiances and the creative spirit will be explored through the writings, ideals and  the work of the Sydney School and the Melbourne School. The writers of Australian architectural history Boyd, Freeland, Taylor will be scrutinised.  We conclude with contemporary issues facing architects and artists in Australia in a global environment.

This Masters unit will be developed as themes for discussion and exploration.  There will be a strong emphasis on architectural history, theory and criticism, the unit critiquing how we have seen and interpreted as much as what we have seen, created, adapted and produced.


Creative journal 35%, research project 35%, seminar paper 30%

Unit Fee Information

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