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Unit of study_

HSTY1003: Birth of the Present: The world since 1750

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Enlightenment and oppression, colonisation and decolonisation, the making and unmaking of nation states and the forging and unravelling of global relationships: the history of the modern world is a history of contradiction, crisis, despair and optimism. Linking social, cultural, political, environmental and economic histories in Asia, Europe, the Americas and Australia, this unit poses the question: what, in these different places, did it mean to be modern?

Unit details and rules

Unit code HSTY1003
Academic unit History
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Chris Hilliard,
Lecturer(s) Chin Jou,
Chris Hilliard,
Addie Lui-Chivizhe,
Sophie Loy-Wilson,
David Brophy,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Tutorial Participation
10% -
Outcomes assessed: LO4
Assignment Essay
30% - 1500 words (not including bibliography)
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment Reading Journal
30% - 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2
Final exam (Take-home extended release) Type E final exam Final Exam
Final exam (Take-home extended release)
30% Formal exam period 96 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1
Type E final exam = Type E final exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.


For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Modernity, Time, and Change 2. Golden Age or Decline? Eurasian Empires in the Eighteenth Century Lecture (2 hr) LO1
The Great Divergence Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 3 The Old Regime in Europe 4 September The French Revolution Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2
The French Revolution Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 03 5. From the Declaration of Independence to the US Constitution 6. Empire after Revolution: Australia, the Cape, and the West Indies Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
The Haitian Revolution Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 04 7. Slavery and Capitalism 8. Industrialization and Urbanization Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Industrial Society Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 05 9. A Pandemic in a Connected World: Cholera in the Nineteenth Century 10. Emancipation and Enfranchisement Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Legacies of American Slavery Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 06 11. Paths to ‘Modernity’ in Europe 12. Empire to Nation: Qing China and Meiji Japan Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Uneven Development Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4
Week 07 13. Missionaries, Modernists, and the Making of World Religions 14. Colonial Ventures: Asia-Pacific, late c19-early c20 Lecture (2 hr) LO1
‘Formal’ and ‘Informal’ Imperialism Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 08 15. Media, Communications and Popular Culture (c. 1850-1939) 16. The First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the Changing Global Order, 1 Tutorial: Reformulating Empire Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Reformulating Empire Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 17. The First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the Changing Global Order, 2 18. Europe, 1918-1945, 1 Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Fascism Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 10 19. Europe, 1918-1945, 2 20. Reconstructing Western Europe, 1945-present Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Cold War Exchanges Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 11 21. Liberal Order or US Empire? East Asia in the Cold War 22. About the Exam Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Multiculturalisms Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4
Week 12 23. Progress and Poverty in the Post-war Asia-Pacific 24. Decolonization Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Review Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of historical developments in various parts of the world from roughly 1700 to the present
  • LO2. demonstrate critical reading skills of secondary source material
  • LO3. analyse primary sources in relation to other accumulated knowledge
  • LO4. articulate responses to unit readings in the company of other students
  • LO5. search for primary and secondary sources in response to a guided research question
  • LO6. write a research essay proposal
  • LO7. complete a research essay using primary source materials.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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