Majors and Minors in the College of Arts and Education – History
Articles,  Blog

Majors and Minors in the College of Arts and Education – History

My name is Rob Pascoe and I am professor of
history here at Victoria University. I teach history, I research history, I write
about history – to both undergraduate students and also for post-grad students.
I chose history because I grew up in Richmond here in Melbourne living above
a shop in Bridge Road at a time when Richmond was going through a profound
change. So I became curious to know about the past about where we come
from and also where do other people come from. Where do these Greeks come from and
of course later in Richmond, where do the Vietnamese come from. The movement of
people through Melbourne is a big story it is part of a much larger question
about how it is that human societies change over time. I think history gives
us a real key to knowing where we are at in the modern world and where
we might be going. Yeah so we’re concerned about climate change, we’re
concerned about refugees, because if at all these issues which are not a new issues
at all they really all have a history behind them. The history major for
undergraduate students is a series of subjects which deal with different
topics, so you’ve got for example a topic of Irish history, because they are actually
very important in Australian life. The Irish make up one of their biggest
minorities. That’s taught by associate professor Diane Hall, who’s the head of
History Program here at Victoria University. There’s also courses in European history. We want to know things like why with the
Nazis, where did they come from, you know … Who are the Communists, where did they come from?
How do they change Europe? What is the future of Europe, basically is implied in
some of the subjects about European history. We have courses on the Middle
East because we a lot of our students are from the Middle East. We also have a
course in world history which is very broad course looking at the full sweep
of history, from prehistoric times all the way through the Romans and the
Greeks, and up to the Middle Ages and then finishing around the time of the
Enlightenment. We also have a course around walking tours. We take students
for walks around the inner suburbs of Melbourne; Richmond, around Footscray,
Fitzroy, around South Melbourne and those walks we can see the imprint of
these waves of migration. We also see some of the old older indigenous culture
embedded in the stones and the streets of these suburbs. In history students
learn how to listen to other people have an inclusive respectful of indigenous,
cultures cultures and people who are not their own. They learn how to engage
with other people, learn if you like what we call cross-cultural
communication. They learn how to understand other people. Students walk
away from a history major with the capacity to both analyze the past using
the data but then more importantly in some ways to persuade their readers of
an argument and that persuasion is very important. Because if you going to make your
way in the world and you have a point of view about something, you’ve actually got
to learn the methods of persuasion, which are basically around good communication
and best skillful use of language, about using the right adjectives, about
understanding how language influences other people. And if you can get those
skills we can actually then make your way into all kinds of areas of life
where it’s your job to persuade other people that your way of thinking about
how we should do something is the best way. So we would hope that our students would come out of our subjects and maybe do other subjects with our indigenous
scholars and other people around the campus and actually put together a kind
of a much more complete understanding of how we came to be where we are today in
Australia and where we might go in the future. History is also very
forward-looking discipline

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