HUMN 2073 Issues in Contemporary Heritage

Credit Points 10

Coordinator Donna James Opens in new window

Description The aim of this subject is to get students thinking critically about heritage. To do so, it examines two main questions: “What is heritage?” and “Why does it matter?”. While the answers to both may appear fairly straightforward, this subject is designed to make students question and problematise their own assumptions, rethink what is and is not heritage, and consider why, in fact, we even care at all. The subject will introduce concepts such as national identity, memorialisation, belonging, collective memory, forgetting and repatriation. It will also introduce and examine heritage legislation, theory and practice.

School Social Sciences

Discipline Human Geography

Student Contribution Band HECS Band 4 10cp

Check your fees via the Fees page.

Level Undergraduate Level 2 subject

Equivalent Subjects TOUR 2001 - Issues in Contemporary Heritage

Learning Outcomes

  1. Generate an inventory of different types and uses of heritage
  2. Summarize different approaches to heritage in varying geographic and cultural settings
  3. Analyse a contemporary heritage issue in a real-world context, namely: heritage and conflict; heritage ‘ownership’; heritage and identity; heritage and politics; looting; repatriation; heritage and destruction; and commemoration
  4. Identify Indigenous standpoints within contemporary heritage debates
  5. Utilise appropriate online technologies to organise, share and communicate heritage-related topics and issues

Subject Content

  1. A history of heritage
  2. The nature of heritage & its philosophies – what is heritage?
  3. Heritage and identity
  4. Issues of ownership and control
  5. Indigenous Australia and heritage issues
  6. Repatriation of Indigenous heritage 
  7. Heritage and collective memory
  8. Heritage and collective forgetting
  9. Conflicts over heritage (dissonance)
  10. Heritage and museums
  11. Heritage and popular culture
  12. Heritage, Tourism and Events
  13. Heritage, threat and sustainability


The following table summarises the standard assessment tasks for this subject. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated, where there is a difference your Learning Guide takes precedence.

Type Length Percent Threshold Individual/Group Task
Literature Review 600 words 30 N Individual
Essay 1,500 words 40 N Individual
Reflection 3 blog entries (250 words each) 20 N Individual
Portfolio Completion of 5 activity sheets (c. 150 words) 10 N Individual

Prescribed Texts

There is no set text for this subject. A weekly reading list with links to readings will be made available on vUWS.

Teaching Periods

Spring (2023)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Donna James Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window

Spring (2024)

Parramatta - Victoria Rd


Subject Contact Donna James Opens in new window

View timetable Opens in new window