History Department Response to Student Feedback
HSTY6993 - Nation, Empire, Globe (2007)
Unit Coordinator: Professor Robert Aldrich
‘Nation, Empire, Globe’, which was developed from an inter-disciplinary research cluster of the same name, was taught for the first time as an honours/postgraduate unit of study in 2007. After sessions on imperialism, nationalism and internationalism, the unit examined such topics as travel and colonial encounters; biopolitics, health and globalization; sexuality; migration; and the legacy of empire in a post-imperial world. Professor Adrian Vickers (Asian Studies) and Associate Professor Alison Bashford (History) were each guests in seminars, another seminar was a combined session with a series of master classes for postgraduate students, and yet another was a video seminar between staff and students in Sydney and ones at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.
Student reaction to the unit was very positive. The overall USE rating for satisfaction with the quality of the unit was 4.21 (out of a possible 5.0). One student wrote: ‘The course material was extremely thought-provoking and the course really well set out’. Another said that the seminars ‘were very interesting with a good mix of freedom of discussion whilst not being too off the topic’ and that ‘the subjects were very different to what I had studied before but very interesting and thought-provoking’.
Several students did say that readings were not always easy to get, and that they would have preferred a reading brick to the list of readings (and works in Special Reserve). Students would also have liked earlier feedback on their oral presentations, which, along with a course essay, constituted the major requirements.
This unit is not scheduled to be taught in 2008, but the positive reception suggests that it does respond to student interest. Perhaps in future it might treat a limited group of more clearly defined topics, and it could indeed benefit from the use of a reading brick.