Modern history enhances students’ curiosity and imagination and their appreciation of larger themes, individuals, movements, events and ideas that have shaped the contemporary world. The themes that run through the units include: local, national and global conflicts and their resolution; the rise of nationalism and its consequences; the decline of imperialism and the process of decolonisation; the continuing struggle for the recognition of human rights; the transformation of social and economic life; the regional shifts in power and the rise of Asia; and the changing nature and influence of ideologies.
Modern History begins with a study of key developments that have helped to define the modern world, with special attention given to important ideas and their consequences. This provides a context for a study of movements for change in the 20th century that have challenged the authority of the nation-state, the principal form of political organisation in the modern world. Students investigate crises that confronted nation-states in the 20th century, the responses to these crises and the different paths nations have taken in the modern world. The course concludes with a study of the distinctive features of world order that have emerged since World War II and that are central to an understanding of the present.
Modern History – Year 11
Unit 1 Understanding the Modern World
This unit examines developments of significance in the modern era, including the ideas that inspired them and their far-reaching consequences. Students examine one development or turning point that has helped to define the modern world. Students explore crucial changes, for example, the application of reason to human affairs; the transformation of production, capitalism and consumption, transport and communications; the challenge to social hierarchy and hereditary privilege, and the assertion of inalienable rights; and the new principles of government by consent. Through their studies, students explore the nature of the sources for the study of modern history and build their skills in historical method through inquiry.
The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are: what makes an historical development significant; the changing nature and usefulness of sources; the changing representations and interpretations of the past; and the historical legacy of these developments for the Western world and beyond.
Unit 2 Movements for Change in the 20th Century
This unit examines significant movements for change in the 20th century that led to change in society, including people’s attitudes and circumstances. These movements draw on the major ideas described in Unit 1, have been connected with democratic political systems, and have been subject to political debate. Through a detailed examination of one major 20th century movement, students investigate the ways in which individuals, groups and institutions have challenged existing political structures, accepted social organisation, and prevailing economic models, to transform societies. The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are: the factors leading to the development of movements; the methods adopted to achieve effective change; the changing nature of these movements; and changing perspectives of the value of these movements and how their significance is interpreted.
Modern History – Year 12
Unit 3 Modern Nations in the 20th Century
This unit examines the characteristics of modern nations in the 20th century; the crises that confronted nations, their responses to these crises and the different paths nations have taken to fulfil their goals. Students study the characteristics of one nation. Students investigate crises that challenged the stability of government, the path of development that was taken and the social, economic and political order that was either established or maintained. Students examine the ways in which the nation dealt with internal divisions and external threats. They emerge with a deeper understanding of the character of a modern nation. The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are the reliability and usefulness of evidence; cause and effect; continuity and change; significance; empathy; contestability; and changing representations and interpretations.
Students study one of the following electives, which is to be taught with the requisite historical skills described as part of this unit.; Australia 1918–1955 (the end of World War I to the ALP Split), Russia and the Soviet Union 1914–1945 (World War I to the end of World War II), China 1935–1989 (the Long March to the Tiananmen Massacre)
Unit 4 The Modern World Since 1945
This unit examines some significant and distinctive features of the modern world within the period
1945–2001 in order to build students’ understanding of the contemporary world – that is, why we are here at this point in time. These include changes to the nature of the world order: shifting international tensions, alliances and power blocs; the emergence of Asia as a significant international political and economic force, and the nature of engagement by and with Australia; the nature of various conflicts and regional and international attempts to create peace and security. Students study one of these features. As part of their study, they should follow and make relevant connections with contemporary events. The key conceptual understandings covered in this unit are: causation; continuity and change; historical significance and changing perspectives and interpretations of the past; and contestability.