Course summary: Australian Culture

In 2005, as part of my Asialink residency in Seoul, I delivered a one-semester course on Australian culture within the Department of English at Sogang University.

This special topic course introduced students to the society and culture of Australia and its people.

Utilising historical and contemporary examples of art forms including painting, poetry, film, novels and music, the course offered the perspective of one individual Australian on what defines Australia in the modern world.

Topics considered included relations between indigenous Australia and settler/invader cultures, the formation of particular Australian identities through warfare, current threats to Australia’s unique environment, Australian attitudes towards Asia, the role of sporting heroes in Australian culture, the figure of the renegade or outlaw in colonial literature, the development of a national youth culture in the 1990s, Australian poetry and globalisation, the history of democracy in Australia, the role of religion in contemporary Australian politics and Australia’s relationship with the United States.

Classes utilised a mixture of written materials, audiovisual presentations and film.

Assessment consisted of one short essay as well as group presentations on a topic related to one of the topics discussed in the course.

COURSE STRUCTURE

WEEK 1
Introduction
Administration & expectations
Course overview
Personal stories

WEEK 2
GLOSSARY OF AUSTRALIAN TERMS

WEEK 3
Relations between indigenous Australia and invader cultures
Aboriginal Australia
Captain Cook & Terra Nullius
Questioning National Identities

WEEK 4
The formation of Australian identities through warfare
Australians at War
The ANZAC legend
Japan, Korea and Vietnam

WEEK 5
Threats to Australia ‘s unique environment
Australian Geography
Pastoralism, Mining and Tourism
City vs Bush

WEEK 6
Australian attitudes towards Asia
Aboriginal relations with Asia
The Gold Rush, Federation and Xenophobia
Beyond Racism

WEEK 7
The role of sporting heroes in Australian culture
Sporting Histories
Three heroes: Don Bradman, Evonne Goolagong and Phar Lap
National Pride and the Olympics

WEEK 8
NO CLASSES – first ASSESSMENT

WEEK 9
The figure of the renegade or outlaw in Australian culture
Freedom fighters and convicts
Three Perspectives on Ned Kelly
Renegade on film: Crocodile Dundee

WEEK 10
Australian poetry
Colonial verse
The Ern Malley hoax
Contemporary voices

WEEK 11
Australian culture and music since the 1990s
Moving on from the 1980s
Living with diversity
The emergence of an Australian youth culture

WEEK 12
Contemporary Australian politics
Democracy, Religion & Politics
Multiculturalism
Neo-liberalism & globalization

WEEK 13
GROUP PRESENTATIONS

WEEK 14
GROUP PRESENTATIONS


About the author

Davey Dreamnation (1972–?) is an Australalian musician, vocalist, pirate and record-label owner who now lives 'in the third person'.

View his full biography.

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