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Insects Shaping Society (UNIB10018)

Undergraduate level 1Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 1
Subject codeUNIB10018
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This breadth subject explores the interactions of bees and other insects with societies worldwide. From the traditions of ancient Egypt and Asia, to modern day Europe, insects are central, not only in the production of food, and spreading of disease but also play an important role in religion, language and culture across the world. Learning from indigenous communities, insects can be harnessed for food, medicine and construction material, and have prominent roles in myths, traditional songs and ceremonies. Insect’s social organisation and communication networks are extremely sophisticated and many parallels to human societal organisation can be drawn.

Controlling detrimental insects using pesticides is essential to survival of humanity. It is important for limiting the spread of disease and agricultural food production. However, reliance on pesticides is also a major problem for sustainability especially as overuse results in pesticide resistance and bee mortality which affects plant pollination. Hence, bee mortality has extraordinary implications on our sustainable food production systems potentially threatening our way of life. Climate change has also had a major impact on insect distribution and breeding, resulting in novel challenges. Are we now finally realising how our actions affect insects and in turn they are shaping our society?

Intended learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the cultural significance of bees and other insects in a historical and geographical context
  • Analyse the impact of agricultural practices on bee and other insects, including pollinators and insect pests
  • Compare the positive and negative impacts of bees and other insects (Mosquitoes/flees/termites/ants/flies) on societies in a historical and geographical context
  • Relationships between insects in colonies and compare to human societies
  • Critically assess the control of insect pests and the effects this has on pollinators
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of insects on humans and vice versa, including climate change

Generic skills

  • Develop academic excellence and knowledge in the area of history and culture, biology and agricultural science develop an aptitude for continued self-directed learning and become adept at learning in a range of ways, including through information and communication technologies
  • Become knowledgeable across disciplines, including an ability to examine critically, synthesis and evaluate knowledge (incorporating knowledge and skills from their own discipline with those of others), are able to participate fully in multi-disciplinary collaborations and to confront unfamiliar problems
  • Be able to become leaders in their communities through the engagement in meaningful public discourse on the subject of insects interaction with people and their environment and develop excellent interpersonal and decision-making skills
  • Will be attuned to cultural diversity through valuing different cultures, having an understanding of the social and cultural diversity in our and other communities and respect indigenous knowledge, cultures and values

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


  • Assignment
  • 1,000 words
Week 425%
  • Intra-semester assessment
  • 1,000 words
Week 825%
  • Examination
  • 2 hours
During examination period50%

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    CoordinatorJean-pierre Scheerlinck
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours24h lecture / 24h case studies/tutorials/practicals
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    Semester 2 contact information

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

    There are no specifically prescribed or recommended texts for this subject.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 22 January 2019