HUMS103 Controversies: Foundations of Critical Social Analysis

Credit Points 6
Responsible Campus Teaching Period Mode of Study
Armidale Trimester 2 Online
Armidale Trimester 2 On Campus
Intensive School(s) None
Supervised Exam There is no supervised examination.

Pre-requisites any 12cp
Co-requisites None
Restrictions None
Notes None
Combined Units None
Coordinator(s) Adrian Walsh (
Unit Description

This introductory unit examines critical social analysis in the Humanities broadly defined, how it is conducted, how it is different from scholarship in the physical sciences, and why it matters. It does so by considering a range of controversial and contested social issues (such as the 'history wars', nationalism and identity, and sexual norms and practices), and the methods used by scholars in a range of disciplines to explore these issues. Students will be introduced to selected disciplines and how they vary in terms of core concepts, perspectives, methods of analysis and argument. In considering these topics the aim is both to foster the critical engagement of students in issues of great public importance, and to encourage them to reflect upon the task of critical social analysis. A key focus in the unit will be on the development of core skills in social analysis.

Materials No text required
Disclaimer Unit information may be subject to change prior to commencement of the teaching period.
Title Exam Length Weight Mode No. Words
Compulsory Assessment 1 30% 1500
Assessment Notes

Critical Review

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-4

Compulsory Assessment 2 20% 500
Assessment Notes

Essay Plan

Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 2, 3, 4

Compulsory Assessment 3 50% 2000
Assessment Notes


Relates to Learning Outcomes (LO)

LO: 1-4

Learning Outcomes (LO) Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. demonstrate an understanding of: (a) the process, value and relevance of critical social analysis; (b) a range of controversial and contested issues; (c) key concepts in critical social analysis including cultural relativism, objectivity, causation, human nature and scientific method;
  2. demonstrate a knowledge of, and be able to apply at a basic level, core concepts, perspectives and methodologies used in a variety of disciplines to a range of social controversies;
  3. display skills in evaluation, analysis, argument and written communication in their assigned work; and
  4. display autonomy and judgement in the planning, researching, writing and presenting of assignment tasks.