Courses & Units

Big History XBR203

Introduction

This unit introduces students to Big History, with a special focus on Tasmania.  Big History is an evolving interdisciplinary field that investigates human history within the historical time scales of geological and biological history. It does so to understand how powerful forces and factors at work on these large time-scales have shaped our responses to major environmental, economic and social changes.

The unit begins by considering the origins and development of the universe and our solar system. Students are introduced to fundamental concepts in cosmology and physics, and their relevance to human history.  Several weeks are then devoted to studying the geological history of the Earth and the emergence of life in its diverse forms, including our own species.

The intellectual focus of the unit then narrows. After exploring major features of human evolution and life in the Palaeolithic era, the unit surveys what have been commonalities in human experience over the past 60,000 years.  Here, special attention is paid to the deep history of Aboriginal life and culture in Tasmania.

Students will study our development of social institutions, cultural practices and technologies over these millennia in response to our needs to secure food and energy sources enabling our successful reproduction.As well as attending to important continuities in human experience, the unit draws on recent research in the sciences and humanities to provide students with fresh, critical perspectives on the most significant changes in human experience since the beginning of the Palaeolithic era. Particular attention is paid to phenomena such as: our relations with other species; our development of language and collective learning; the adoption of agriculture, the emergence of the first cities and states; the growth of networks of commerce and exchange; the exploitation of new sources of energy, industrialization and consumerism; and the challenges we face in a rapidly urbanizing world with risks posed by climate change, resource depletion and feeding a rapidly growing global population.

Summary

Unit name Big History
Unit code XBR203
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School DVC Students & Education
Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching (TILT)
Discipline History and Classics|Mathematics and Physics|Earth Sciences|Plant Science|Zoology
Coordinator

Professor Paul Turnbull and Professor John Dickey

Teaching staff

Professors Paul Turnbull, Professor John Dickey,Dr Martin Jutzler. Associate Professor Leon Barmuta, Professor David Bowman, Associate Professor Greg Jordan, Professor Steven Smith, Professor Rene Vaillancourt , Associate Professor Erik Wapstra

Available as student elective? Yes
Breadth Unit? Yes

Availability

This unit is currently unavailable.

Note

Units are offered as On-campus where the majority of teaching will occur at the campus identified.  Units offered Off-campus generally have no requirement for attendance at a physical university campus unless the unit has practical or fieldwork components*:  the campus indicated for an Off-Campus unit is the one at which teaching is administered from.

*Please read the Unit Introduction in the Course and Unit Handbook for attendance requirements for units offered in Off-campus mode.

* The Final WW Date is the final date from which you can withdraw from the unit without academic penalty, however you will still incur a financial liability (see withdrawal dates explained for more information).

Unit census dates currently displaying for 2017 are indicative and subject to change. Finalised census dates for 2017 will be available from the 1st October 2016.

About Census Dates

Fees

Domestic

Band Field of Education
1 100799

Fees for next year will be published in October. The fees above only apply for the year shown.

Please note: international students should refer to this page to get an indicative course cost.

Teaching

Assessment

Participation in Online Discussions (20%); Short Answer Questions (20%);  Critical Bibliographical Exercise (30%) Research Report (30%)

TimetableView the lecture timetable | View the full unit timetable

Textbooks

RequiredNone

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