Courses in media history offered at undergraduate and postgraduate level at Australian universities. Subjects include the history of journalism and news, film history, and twentieth century popular culture.

Charles Sturt University
Griffith University
Macquarie University, Sydney
Monash University, Melbourne
University of Canberra
University of Melbourne
University of New South Wales, Sydney

Charles Sturt University

HST212: Film and History

This subject examines the ways in which films shape the collective memory. Students will consider movies’ portrayal of political and social change, war and society, class, race, ethnicity and gender, and national identity. Close attention will be given to the historical contexts in which films were produced. The subject also examines the nature and value of movies as historical sources. A range of significant films from Europe, America, Australia and the Third World will be viewed.

COM226: Media: History and Society

This subject examines media development from the late nineteenth century to the present. It introduces students to the relevant historical context, analyses evolving relationships between media and society and between different media, and focuses on key issues concerning media ownership and control, organisation, use and operation. It is designed to provide students in visual and performing arts courses with an understanding of the significance of the media in the modern and contemporary world.

COM113: Commercial Radio Industry

This subject introduces commercial radio as a specialized field of study. This subject explores the early formation and pioneering days of Australian radio progressing to the structure and operation of modern radio based media organisations, with specific reference to sales and promotion practices. Contemporary influences on the industry, such as digital radio, internet broadcasting, cross-media ownership, social media and narrow casting are also examined.

COM225: Television: Historical & Social Perspectives

This subject traces the development of television from its beginnings to the present. Particular attention is given to the historical contexts in which television has evolved and to relationships between this mass communications medium and society.

Griffith University

CJR340 - Newspapers in History

(This course is made available through Open Universities Australia). Learn about the role of the newspaper in the history of modern Western society. You will focus on the emergence of mass circulation and new forms of journalism in the second half of the nineteenth century. You will explore historical topics and events such as: Commercialisation of the press; Political opinion; Cultural authority; Structure and ownership of the press; Historical analysis of aspects of newspapers; Relationship between mainstream and radical press; Journalism as a profession and the effects of commercialisation on journalism. This unit provides you with an opportunity to explore one of the most important and influential cultural forms of the modern world -- the newspaper.

1009LHS: Introduction to Screen Analysis

The course aims to teach skills of analysis and critical discussion of film and to present some of the main scholarly and critical approaches that have developed in the academic discipline of Film Studies. A chronological history of cinema is not offered: films are selected for study because they exemplify particular aspects of film form and style. The course aims to develop skills in the area of textual analysis, historical knowledge and critical as well as theoretical methods. Students undertaking this course will both develop their skills and knowledges in the discipline of Film and Screen, and will generally improve their appreciation and understanding of film and screen media. This course, along with 1015HUM Screen History and Research, is foundational to the Screen Studies and Production majors in both the Bachelor Arts and Bachelor of Communication.

2102LHS: Television Studies

This course investigates 'Television' as a global medium and explores theoretical viewpoints on the nature of the medium and how it is studied. It provides an historical overview, contextualising television's development as technology and cultural form in the broadcast and post-broadcast era. The course examines the relationship between government policy, industry practice and aesthetic outcome and analyses a selection of television programs, formats and modes of address.

Macquarie University, Sydney

CUL221: Australian Film & Cinema

What do we mean by 'being Australian'? In Australia, film and television are used by the creative industries and viewing public to create, share, critique and sustain ideas of identity and space, and to mediate associated cultural concerns. This unit focuses on constructions of 'Australianness' drawn from these Australian contexts, using cultural-critical frameworks to explore the production and consumption of Australian film and television locally and globally. In addition, by canvassing themes or representation, genre, style, policy, history and industrial practice, this unit explores the trajectories and texts of Australian film and television as well as the contemporary preoccupations of both. The production of identity, Indigeneity, gender, sexuality, race, religion and politics from an Australian perspective is explored through a number of Australian feature films, documentaries and television programs. These are filtered through critical perspectives from across the broad range of Cultural Studies to interrogate how 'being Australian' is performed as a complex phenomenon.

MAS104: Australian Media

This unit offers an introduction to the media in Australia. The unit is structured around five modules with each focusing on a different media sector – press, cinema, radio, television and advertising. In the first three weeks, students are introduced to the general mediascape of Australia and shown some tools for analysing media. Following the general introduction, the readings and lectures in each module provide students with an overview of a specific media industry in Australia. They then go on to focus on one or more significant aspect of media content relevant to that industry and its cultures. Finally, each module examines at least one contemporary issue of importance to that industry. This unit explores questions such as: What is media and why should we study it? How is nationhood problematised through the media? What is the function of the press? Who are the Australian male and female as constructed by Australian magazines? Does Australia need its own cinema? How important is an Australian film industry? What makes talkback influential? How important is television in knowing who we are? Why should comedy be taken seriously?

MAS110: Introduction to Digital Media

From the printing press to citizen journalism, from the telegraph to online gaming; how has digital media evolved to its present-day state? This unit introduces students to contemporary digital media including web and computer technologies, interactive media and games, image and video, and sound, providing a contextual look at their existence. Students will think critically about how technologies are shaped, and how they shape us, as well as considering the histories and uses of various platforms. Teaching is geared towards forming a foundational knowledge of media theory, as well as developing crucial analytical skills. Additionally, students will undertake self-directed and collaborative projects involving hands-on digital media production. The unit is interdisciplinary in scope, with an emphasis on innovative digital media forms and practices today.

MAS205: Introduction to the Cinema

This unit is an introduction to: 1) some of the main theoretical issues and debates that have defined film studies as an area of cultural interest; and 2) some of the key historical moments in classical Hollywood filmmaking and international filmmaking (from the 1940s through to more recent times). Lectures and tutorials, in conjunction with weekly film screenings, consider topics such as the codes, conventions, and aesthetics of film narrative; film genres; film styles; film canons; modes of storytelling; the relation between fiction film and documentary film (and their hybrids).

MHIS365: From the Beats to Big Brother: Popular Culture Since the 1950s

This unit traces the history of popular culture in the United States of America and Australia from the 1950s to the present. We particularly focus on the ways in which class, gender, race and politics have shaped the experience of popular culture. Film, television, music, music video and other forms of new media are used in this unit to evoke seminal moments in the history of popular culture and students are encouraged to explore such non-discursive forms as primary sources. Students are also encouraged to consider the reception of popular culture by audiences and to think about their own experience of popular culture historically.

MHPG916 - Australian Popular Culture from the Fifties to Now

A survey of Australian popular culture from the 1950s to now with an emphasis on its place in everyday life and its wider meanings. The unit examines the changing roles played by television, radio, popular music, film, print media and new media encouraging students to think about their own experiences of popular culture historically.

MMCS260: Documentary Media: Forms, Histories, Futures

This unit examines the historical development of documentary and its current relationship to rapidly proliferating digital technologies across a range of formats—including radio, television, cinema and online. From its first gestures in the early 20th century in radio and film to current multimedia experiments online, the documentary has proved to be a resilient and compelling form. The unit considers the implication of documentary's aesthetic and rhetorical strategies in fashioning our relationship to the real and its corresponding status as a way of knowing and of experiencing the world. It exposes students to this large body of work and the critical writing surrounding it. A range of works, authors and forms are considered with critical attention given to the discussions, dialogues and debates that have surrounded their production, reception and broader influence within societies and within media cultures. Themes covered include questions of style/form, auteurship and notions of authenticity; development of the documentary idea within film/video culture and public service radio; changing concepts and notions of the real and the intersection of creative ideas, industry, new technologies and the hybridisation of forms on the documentary text as it now moves into a post broadcast or convergent and online future.

MHIS101 - Screening the Past: History on Film and Television

Recent surveys of popular historical awareness have demonstrated that most people find out about the past from film and television, yet visual histories are often criticised for the ways they present the past. This unit will consider the limitations and possibilities of history on screen. Films like Australia, Schindler's List, Hairspray, and The Help have all provoked tremendous controversy. Do these filmic histories represent a more 'authentic' engagement with the past, or do they peddle false versions of history to a gullible public? This unit will introduce students to the critical study of history on film. Because this unit is concerned with how the past is represented in the present, it will provide a foundation for students to consider the study of history more broadly. The unit will also be of interest to students across the university.

Monash University

ATS1345: Music and History

Through the study of selected representative musical works from the Western art music canon, this unit explores the historical conditions under which music was produced and the purposes it served for composers, performers, patrons and the public. Musical works are studied in terms of their historical, structural and stylistic characteristics.

ATS2446 - Australian Media Histories

In this unit students consider the key social, political and technological contexts in the development of the Australian media, and its significance within Australian life. It investigates the growth of the print, radio, television, popular music and cinema industries and accompanying national contexts including media ownership patterns, media policy settings and audience formations/desires. The subject examines both the building of forums for national debate, but also how the media industries assisted in the construction of nationhood. Through the study of different histories of media and approaches to media history, students gain an understanding of contemporary local media landscapes.

Contact: Dr Shane Homan

University of Canberra

Communication Evolution (9020.2)

This unit places communication within the context of relations of power. It emphasizes the relationship between communication technologies and social, political and cultural change. Students are introduced to key concerns and ideas in communication scholarship and the communication industries, with a focus on the transition from the one-to-many (broadcast) to the many-to-many (network) model. The communication of power and the power of communication are examined through a variety of perspectives, including political economy, the sociology of the journalistic field, and network theory.

University of Melbourne

SCRN20013: Australian Film & Television

This subject is an introduction to the study of Australian film and television. Beginning with post-war Australian film and television, we will trace the emergence of the modern entertainment industry in Australia locating it within national and international frameworks and examining the growing debates around what constitutes a national cinema and television industry. The focus will be upon examining specific films and a range of media in television locating products within local and global contexts, analyzing cosmopolitan and nationalist impulses that drive the industry forward. We will study a range of indigenous and non-indigenous products and genres including feature films, video, documentaries, television series, sitcoms and news programs. Road movies, comedy, history films, animation, romance and melodrama are among the genres studied.

CULS20016: Media Histories

This subject is an introduction to the study of Australian film and television. Beginning with post-war Australian film and television, we will trace the emergence of the modern entertainment industry in Australia locating it within national and international frameworks and examining the growing debates around what constitutes a national cinema and television industry. The focus will be upon examining specific films and a range of media in television locating products within local and global contexts, analyzing cosmopolitan and nationalist impulses that drive the industry forward. We will study a range of indigenous and non-indigenous products and genres including feature films, video, documentaries, television series, sitcoms and news programs. Road movies, comedy, history films, animation, romance and melodrama are among the genres studied.

MECM10003: Media and Society

This subject provides students with a thematic overview of the study of media and communications. The subject addresses the production and distribution of media and the work of media audiences in historical and contemporary contexts. It engages students in debates over the relative analytical power of such approaches as the economics of the media industry and the relations between media, politics and public life. It encourages students to develop their critical capacities by enlarging their understanding of both the empirical nature of the media and the range of theoretical approaches to them.

University of New South Wales, Sydney

ARTS3062: Aspects of Film History: Cinematic Thinking

This course introduces students to the early history of film and its social and cultural impacts; considers key theoretical issues in the examination of film histories, and perspectives, traditions and methods in the historiography of film. Through case studies and analysis of key texts and films, it highlights the role of film in modernity and its transformations, and introduces students to the use of a wide range of archival and research materials used in the documentation of film history. The course does not offer a comprehensive history but studies in depth key aspects of film prior to the 1960s. This includes: prehistories of film, art and experimental film, German Expressionism, cinema and colonialism, propaganda and war film, the Hollywood epic, the American dream.

ARTS2062: Australian Cinema
This course traces the emergence and significance of Australian screen cultures. Studies the development of the Australian film industry, including analysis of the economic, social and political factors and the myths which have shaped the industry. Studies the role of television in shaping the experience of modern Australia and its place in the world. Looks at a number of non-mainstream forms of audio-visual production in Australia.

ARTS3289: Film and History

Documentary film is a dominant form of historical knowledge in today's world. This course explores the ways in which documentary films represent, remember, imagine and find meaning in the past, and their function as "History" in the public sphere. Students will analyse documentary's traditional status as a "truth telling device" in light of similar debates over the nature of history and truth, and explore the tensions between documentary and written histories. The course also addresses the possibilities of the audiovisual archive as a source of historical research, and how the historian-as-documentarian might approach the non-print text as a primary source of historical evidence. Students are encouraged to consider both the limitations and the potential for documentary as a mode of historical production, and what the future holds for history on the screen. What films get made about the past, and when, is an important question for consideration in this course. Topics addressed in this course include the construction of historical memory; ethnography and race; testimony and the historical witness; television histories; historical re-enactment; myth; the audio-visual archive; home movies; found footage; web-based histories, and 'reality' history.