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10 cp from 100-level unit in Literature or English


ENGL102 Australian Literature - An Introduction

Unit rationale, description and aim

Professionals working in Australian literary and cultural fields need to appreciate and be able to explain the value of a national literature in an increasingly global world. In this unit you will apply your conceptual knowledge of literature, genre and cultural context developed in the introductory units to describing and analysing Australian literary traditions and products. This unit examines what a national literature means, and how it has developed in the Australian context. Students will review a broad coverage of Australian literary production from the colonial period into the twenty-first century, and explore, through a range of genres, colonial writing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literatures, Australian realism, the emergence of an Australian modernism, ways of representing the landscape, migrant writing and writers of the twenty-first century. The aim of this unit is to develop students' capacity to identify and interpret the significant preoccupations of Australian literature so that they may debate and influence Australian cultural identity and values in their professional practice.

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.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Discuss theoretical approaches towards and textual knowledge of Australian Literature (GA5, GA9) 

LO2 - Communicate clearly in written and/or oral form, in a style appropriate to a specified audience (GA6, GA9) 

LO3 - Locate, evaluate and appropriately reference a variety of texts relevant to Australian literature in order to develop an evidence-based argument (GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA10) 

LO4 - Apply the methods that literary theorists have used to research and interpret Australian Literature (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA10)

LO5 - Describe and analyse key debates relating to literary studies over time (GA1, GA2, GA5, GA8)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Students will study a range of critical approaches to the Australian texts and interrogate nationalist frameworks in literary culture. 

Topics will include: 

  • the development of a national literature 
  • the relationship between literary representation and the land and environment 
  • colonial literature, and its representation of others 
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literatures  
  • Australian realism and modernism 
  • multicultural writing 
  • Australian literature in the twenty-first century. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is designed and delivered in face-to-face mode in order to immerse students in active learning through discussions and exercises that facilitate the development of skills fundamental to the discipline of literary studies and to facilitate the interaction of students with guest speakers, when available. In addition to close reading of a range of literary texts, students will participate in writing activities, interpreting and evaluating texts, and critical debates. Students will also investigate critical responses to Australian writing though examining literary criticism and book reviewing practices. 

This unit engages students in both cooperative small-group learning and inquiry-based learning, strategies that give students the opportunity to reflect on the content, issues, and questions at the core of Australian literary studies.  

This is a 10-credit point unit and 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 across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit, as described in the learning and teaching strategy and the assessment strategy.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

This 200-level English unit is designed to include assessment tasks that build content knowledge and higher order research and analytic skills. 

The close reading task requires students to demonstrate a capacity to apply considered critical responses to Australian literary texts.  

The research task develops skills in relation to locating and evaluating sources on Australian topics, developing a sustained evidence-based argument, and active engagement with literary debates. 

The summative task complements and builds on the previous task, requiring students to analyse and synthesise scholarship in relation to Australian literary studies. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Reading Task 

This close reading task requires students to apply considered critical responses to Australian literary texts. 


LO1, LO2, LO4 

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA9, GA10 

Research Task 

This task requires students to locate and evaluate literary sources and develop an evidence-based argument. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Summative Task 

This task requires students to analyse and synthesise scholarship in relation to Australian literary studies and its diverse voices. 


LO1, LO2, LO4, LO5 

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Gelder, K & Weaver, R. Colonial Australian Literature. Sydney University Press, 2017. 

Gilbert, Kevin, ed. Inside Black Australia: An Anthology of Aboriginal Poetry. Penguin Books, 1988. 

Grossman, Michelle. Entangled Subjects: Indigenous/Australian Cross-Cultures of Talk, Text, and Modernity. Rodopi, 2013. 

Heiss, A., & Minter, P. (Eds). The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature. Allen & Unwin, 2008. 

Huggan, Graham. Australian Literature: Postcolonialism, Racism, Transnationalism (Oxford Studies in Post-colonial Literatures). Oxford University Press, 2007. 

Jose, Nicholas et al. The Macquarie PEN Anthology of Australian Literature. Allen & Unwin, 2009. 

Mycak, Sonia and Sarwal, Amit. Australian Made: A Multicultural Reader. Sydney University Press, 2010. 

Pierce, P. The Cambridge History of Australian Literature. Cambridge University Press, 2009. 

Van Toorn, Penelope. Writing Never Arrives Naked; Early Aboriginal Cultures of Writing in Australia. Aboriginal Studies P, 2008. 

Webby, E. The Cambridge Companion to Australian literature. Cambridge University Press, 2012. 

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