Reason and Revolution

Unit code: ABA1001 | Study level: Undergraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
Footscray Park


Focusing on the intellectual, political and historical forces that have shaped the modern world, this unit develops the knowledge and skills required to participate in debates concerning the formation of contemporary culture and society. It introduces students to the core concepts of tradition and modernity, familiarises them with a range of positions and discourses in contemporary academic debates and examines the historical sources of these concepts and debates, with particular emphasis on the intellectual and social revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In focusing on key historical debates, and the positions that underpin them, the unit aims to provide students with an understanding of the critical discourses needed to analyse and interpret the systems that shape the contemporary world.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Analyse concepts and competing interpretations of tradition and modernity;
  2. Examine cultural identities and institutions within traditional and modern societies;
  3. Analyse breaks with and in tradition and modernity;
  4. Examine the social, political, intellectual and historical sources and structures of the development of the modern world;
  5. Identify a range of theoretical perspectives from the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences in the interpretation and evaluation of the development of modern society.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Portfolio
Grade: 40%
Portfolio of online activities and reflective writing exercises.
Assessment type: Other
Grade: 20%
Political debate drawing on themes of the unit.
Assessment type: Presentation
Grade: 40%
Presentation demonstrating and applying unit based knowledge.

Required reading

Selected readings will be made available via the unit VU Collaborate site and bookshop.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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