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Unit rationale, description and aim

Global connections have shaped the world around us. Inequalities between nations and groups, the growth or decline of opportunities for development, and the use of resources affecting climate and environmental change have all been forged by these historical connections. Developing an understanding of global history is essential before we can confront the global challenges of the twenty-first century. This unit explores the history of ‘globalisation’, the processes by which communities around the world have become increasingly interconnected and the complex networks of people and ideas that have driven global transformations. It provides students with an introduction to the study of history and prepares students to investigate the major cultural, economic, environmental, political and social forces that have shaped our world.

The influence of global ideas, values and religions; relations between imperial and colonised societies; wars and displacement; development and ‘dependency’; diseases and movements for global health; trade and investment; power and protest; revolution and counter-revolution; environmental change; music, art, and popular culture; educational and employment opportunity and inequality, are just some of the topics being researched by global historians today. Drawing on this latest research, this unit introduces students to the history of the ‘global’ and to the historical skills essential for a better understanding contemporary global society.

The aim of this unit is to trace the long history of globalisation. By examining histories of human convergence and interaction over time, it provides students with opportunities to develop and deploy historical skills to analyse key developments in global history and to assess their resonance today.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Describe some of the major causes and consequences of global convergence and divergence over timeGC1, GC3, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO2Discuss and explain key concepts and ideas clearly in written and/or oral formGC1, GC3, GC4, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO3Use and appropriately reference a variety of primary and secondary sources relevant to the history of globalisation to develop an evidence-based historical narrative or argumentGC1, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO4Apply critical reading skills to understanding of the ‘long history’ of contemporary globalisationGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12
LO5Evaluate key historical and public debates relating to the history of globalisationGC1, GC2, GC3, GC4, GC5, GC6, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC10, GC11, GC12


Topics will include:  

  • Introductions to History and Global History
  • First Nations Peoples and Global History
  • The Classical World
  • The Global Middle Ages
  • War, violence and genocide
  • Nationalism and transnationalism
  • Imperialism, settler colonialism and Indigenous resistance
  • Free, unfree and forced migration
  • Trade, finance and the global economy
  • Natural and human resource development and exploitation
  • Global ideas and knowledge
  • Revolutions and counter-revolutions
  • Gender and sexuality in global context
  • Technology, transport and communications
  • Art, music, popular culture and sport

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Lectures provide students with basic content knowledge, as well as guidance and advice around key interpretations, debates and problems in global history. In this way, lectures also establish a framework appropriate for independent learning. Active student participation is anticipated and encouraged in tutorials. Tutorials are designed to provide students with a peer-to-peer learning environment in which they can discuss and debate issues and problems raised in lectures, in set readings and through their own reading. Students consolidate their understanding, knowledge, analytical and communication skills through negotiation and interaction with both other students and staff. Tutorials may take a variety of forms, all of which provide different learning opportunities, including: working in pairs to share ideas; working in small groups for quick analysis, debate and identification of the most relevant and salient information; opportunities to brainstorm; opportunities to participate in whole group discussions; opportunities to work with source materials (primary and secondary); opportunities to learn through informal presentations.

The unit is hosted on a Learning Management System (LMS) site with resources and online links, announcements, and a discussion board to post questions and reflections that promote the connection between content and educational experiences.

This unit has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total.

Mode of delivery: This unit may be offered in different modes, as described below.

On Campus

Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.


Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.

Online unscheduled

Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 

Online scheduled

All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

ACU Online 

In ACU Online mode, this unit is delivered asynchronously, fully online using an active, guided learning approach. Active learning opportunities provide students with opportunities to practice and apply their learning. Activities encourage students to bring their own examples to demonstrate understanding, application and engage constructively with their peers. Students receive regular and timely feedback on their learning, which includes information on their progress.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.  

The assessment tasks and their weighting for this unit are designed to demonstrate the achievement of each learning outcome. Students must obtain a pass mark (50%) or better overall from the combination of marks from the three assessment tasks in order to pass the unit. The tasks are linked in a developmentally progressive sequence with the later assessment tasks given more weighting than the earlier ones since students’ knowledge and ability to discuss, explain and evaluate sources and concepts should increase over time and thus they should be better able to do well on the set task.

The Reading-related Task will be an early, relatively lightly weighted assessment task to assess the student’s ability to apply critical reading skills to identify, discuss and correctly reference ideas and content related to the opening weeks of the unit within specific readings. It is designed to be diagnostic (since this is an introductory unit) and formative. It will take place in the first half of the semester with feedback made available to students by, at the latest, the mid-teaching period. The Research Task requires students to identify relevant and suitable historical resources in response to a set question and to apply analysis and discussion skills developed in the first assessment to construct an evidence-based historical argument or narrative. The Summative Task requires students to demonstrate knowledge of the unit as a whole, their ability to synthesise and apply that knowledge, and the acquisition of level-appropriate written communication and analysis skills.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1

Reading-related Task  

This task requires students to identify key knowledge and historical debates within set scholarly historical readings and communicate their findings. 


LO1, LO2

Assessment Task 2

Research Task  

This task requires students to identify key resources related to a set topic and apply critical reading skills to construct a historical argument or narrative. The task also allows students to demonstrate their understanding of the issue, debate, site, or theme under discussion, and show they can clearly communicate their findings in written and/or oral form (as designated by the lecturer).  


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Assessment Task 3

Summative Task  

This task requires students to apply critical reading skills to reflect, synthesise and evaluate the themes of the unit. Students will complete a take-home assignment with set short-answer and/or essay questions that allow them to demonstrate their understanding of key issues in the history of globalisation.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Representative texts and references

Bayly, Christopher. The Birth of the Modern World, 1780-1914. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.

Bell, David. Rethinking the Age of Revolutions: France and the Birth of the Modern World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.

Berg, M. Writing a History of the Global: Challenges for the 21st Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.  

Borstelmann, Thomas. The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.

Coates, Kenneth. A Global History of Indigenous Peoples: Struggle and Survival. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Colley, Linda. The Gun, the Ship and the Pen: Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World. London: Profile Books, 2021.

Darwin, John. Unlocking the World : Port Cities and Globalization in the Age of Steam, 1830-1930. London: Allen Lane, 2020.

Hobson, J. A. The Eastern Origins of Western Civilisation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 

Hunt, L.  Writing History in the Global Era. New York: W.W. Norton, 2015. 

Lebovic, Sam. A Righteous Smokescreen: Postwar America and the Politics of Cultural Globalization. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2022.

Osterhammel, Jurgen. The Transformation of the World: A Global History of the Nineteenth Century. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2014. 

Stearns, P. Globalization in World History. 3rd edition. London: Routledge, 2020.

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