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How are histories and identities expressed in the forms and cultures of cities? Adopting Melbourne as its exemplar, this subject offers an exciting look at the role of people, places, institutions and processes in the historical development of the modern city. It does so by placing Melbourne in a global urban context, while also exploring local communities and spaces where a diversity of people have lived, worked and played. It explores the meanings of ‘places’, both real and imagined: from the inner city to the suburbs, and in built as well as open spaces. We will explore Melbourne’s diverse neighbourhoods (such as Chinatown, Italian, Jewish, Middle Eastern and Vietnamese), and the city’s famous cultural precincts, from the MCG and Federation Square to laneways with their renowned cafes, buskers and graffiti. We will walk the city streets, considering architecture, public art, the city of the senses, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life, to investigate how the past is remembered, preserved or erased in the present.
We will also examine the ways in which identity and belonging, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and emotions and sensuality are negotiated in the city. This cross-disciplinary urban history subject will appeal to students interested in undertaking a detailed study of cities and identity and will build skills in historical, cultural and environmental analysis. Taught intensively, with guest involvement from experts in areas such as urban archaeology, Indigenous knowledge, and museum curation, much of our learning involves site visits outside the campus.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject should be able to:
- Have knowledge of the development of the modern city and the field of urban history
- Demonstrate familiarity with key concepts relating to cities, urbanisation and everyday life
- Understand the interaction of ethnicity, race, class, gender and sexuality in shaping lives through urban history
- Use historical evidence, including visual evidence and cultural artefacts, to think critically and analyse complex issues about urban culture, society and identity
- Select and identify their own sources through independent research, including the competent use of library, archival and other information sources
- Demonstrate an ability to use and apply techniques of historical and social analysis drawn from a wide range of sources
- Develop written and oral analytical skills relating to an understanding of historical and contemporary representations of cities and identity
- Demonstrate an ability to interrogate evidence within its historical and cultural contexts.
Last updated: 20 February 2024