The Body in History - 2017

This unit contains mature content including Sex / Sexual References and Violence and may not be suitable for some students.
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Unit summary


  • Level of Study: Undergraduate Level 2
  • Study load: 0.125 EFTSL
  • Delivery method: Fully Online
  • Prerequisites: No
  • Duration: 13 weeks
  • Government loans available: FEE-HELP, HECS-HELP
  • Availability for 2017: SP1 , SP2
  • Availability for 2018: SP1 , SP2
  • Assessment: Assignment 1 - Deconstruction (15%) , Draft Plan - For Essay (15%) - Learn more

Unit provided by

2017 Fees
Domestic 793.00
HECS 793.00
International 1,043.00

This unit focuses on the history of the body since the mid eighteenth century. We will look at why physical and mental health have been the concerns of governments, how different populations have been identified as 'fit' or unfit', and the way in which gender, sexuality and 'race' have shaped public understandings of a variety of bodies and subjects. The unit covers diverse representations of 'the body' as an ideal and its relationship to actual bodies in modern history, from public health to sex education and psychiatry, and from femininity to sanitation and zombies.

At the completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. identify the central aims and objectives of the body as a way to understand history;
  2. understand the place of the body in history in world historical context;
  3. recognise and compare the complexities and varieties within specific histories of medicine, health, embodiment, gender and difference;
  4. place the history of the body within the larger frameworks of transnational, imperial and colonial history;
  5. apply ways of thinking about bodies and the body to rethinking world history;
  6. employ analytical thinking skills and reflect critically and ethically on the above issues;
  7. analyse, evaluate and synthesis a range of historical images and texts;
  8. develop sustained, logical and informed arguments about the dynamics of the body in world history;
  9. appreciate and evaluate the variety of approaches to the body in world history;
  10. draw on a knowledge of history to understand the complexities and dynamics shaping, forging and limiting the body as a historical concept and lived experiences.
  • Assignment 1 — Deconstruction (15%)
  • Draft Plan — For Essay (15%)
  • Online Discussion (15%)
  • Research Essay (55%)

There are no prerequisites for this unit.

Note: Level 2 units normally assume an introductory level of prior knowledge in this area, e.g. from studying related Level 1 units or other relevant experience.

This unit addresses the following topics.

2The invention of the asylum: prison and the treatment of the insane
3The dangers of the city - cleanliness and polution
4Anatomy to surgery
5Skin in history
6Sexing the body
7Zombies and the body politic
8Death and memorialisation
9Eugenics and genetics
10Bodies on display: science, museums and bodies
11Childhood: sexuality and morality

This unit is delivered using the following methods and materials:

Instructional Methods

  • Discussion Forum/Discussion Board
  • Online assignment submission
  • Podcasting/Lecture capture

Online materials

  • FAQs
  • Printable format materials
  • Quizzes
  • Resources and Links

This unit is part of a major, minor, stream or specialisation in the following courses:

This unit may be eligible for credit towards other courses:

  1. Many undergraduate courses on offer through OUA include 'open elective' where any OUA unit can be credited to the course. You need to check the Award Requirements on the course page for the number of allowed open electives and any level limitations.
  2. In other cases, the content of this unit might be relevant to a course on offer through OUA or elsewhere. In order to receive credit for this unit in the course you will need to supply the provider institution with a copy of the Unit Profile in the approved format, which you can download here. Note that the Unit Profile is set at the start of the year, and if textbooks change this may not match the Co-Op textbook list.
This unit does not have a prescribed textbook(s).

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