Research Essay

Weighting: 40%
Word limit: 2000 words max

This assessment task assesses your capacity to construct an evidence-based interpretation of the past in written form – in this case, you will be offering an interpretation of a film or films in the context of their production and release. A short reading list is provided for each question but you need to also include at least TWO self-located written sources (indicate these in your bibliography).

This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
• Distinguish between primary and secondary sources;
• begin to develop a critical vocabulary for the analysis of film and televisual materials as primary sources;
• identify arguments in secondary sources;
• communicate in written and verbal forms;
• construct an evidence-based interpretation of historical film and television;
• critically reflect on how historical representations are shaped by their contemporary contexts;
• plan, revise and submit written work according to a schedule;
• consider the ethical and professional obligations of historical practitioners in regards to intellectual honesty and acknowledgement;
• respectfully and constructively offer and respond to feedback from staff and other students.


Some general guidelines:

• Be sure to select only historical films to discuss in your essay

• Remember to consider and discuss the historical context in which the films were produced, as well as the ways that the film depicts historical events.


How have Australian historical films grappled with the project of reconciliation?

Collins, Felicity and Davis, Theresa Australian Cinema After Mabo Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Craven Ian (ed) Australian Cinema in the 1990s London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2001

Birch, Tony “’This Is a True Story’: Rabbit-Proof Fence, ‘Mr. Devil’ and the Desire to Forget” Cultural Studies Review 8,1 (2002): 117-129

Lydon, Jane “A Strange Time Machine: The Tracker, Black and White, and Rabbit-Proof Fence” Australian Historical Studies 35,123 (2004): 137-148

Healy, Chris Forgetting Aborigines Sydney: UNSW Press, 2008

Healey, Justin (ed) Towards Reconciliation Sydney: Spinney Press, 2001

Muldoon, Paul and Andre Schaap “Confounded by recognition: the apology, the High Court and the Aboriginal Embassy in Australia” in Theorizing post-conflict reconciliation: agonism, restitution and repair edited by Alexander Keller Hirsch, London: Routledge, 2012

Coombes, Annie E Rethinking settler colonialism : history and memory in Australia, Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand and South Africa Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006

Goot, Murray and Rowse, Tim Divided nation? : indigenous affairs and the imagined public, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 2007

Attwood, Bain Telling the Truth About Aboriginal History Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2005