Modern History Stage 6 Syllabus Original published version updated



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Part I: Case Studies
Case studies are inquiry-based investigations into key features, issues, individuals, groups, events or concepts in modern history. They are oriented towards the problems and issues of investigating the past.
Case studies in the Preliminary course are intended to provide students with opportunities to:

  • study the various ways historians perceive, investigate, describe, explain, record and construct the past, the types of questions they ask, the explanations they give, the issues they raise

  • describe, explain, understand, question, analyse and interpret sources.

Case studies provide a historical context within which students can learn about the methods used by historians and a range of specialists to investigate the past and develop the understanding and competencies that underpin subsequent studies across Stage 6.


The list of key features on page 16 provides the primary focus for the case studies. The other elements of the studies, the concepts, individuals and groups and events, are studied within the context of the key features.
Part II: Historical Investigation
The historical investigation is designed to provide opportunities for all students to further develop relevant investigative, research and presentation skills that are the core of the historical inquiry process.
Students may:

  • investigate a case study of their own, an aspect of a case study or an aspect of the Preliminary core study

  • undertake the historical investigation individually or as a member of a group.

The historical investigation can be integrated into any aspect of the Preliminary course and need not be completed as one project.

Part III: Core Study: The World at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century
Students shall investigate the Preliminary core study using a source-based approach.
Sources are any written or non-written materials that can be used to investigate the past. Historians base their research on sources relevant to their inquiry. They analyse sources to discover if they hold any evidence that will be relevant to their particular historical inquiry.
The evidence is the information contained in the source. Historians can retrieve it by asking relevant questions. Thus a source is not the same as evidence. A source becomes evidence if it is used to answer a question on the past. It may be evidence for one aspect of history but not for another. Some sources contain useful information but often not all the evidence that is needed in the inquiry.
Using sources is an important part of the process of historical inquiry. The historical inquiry process involves posing questions, finding information, assessing the reliability of sources, analysing and interpreting the evidence contained in the sources and publishing the findings.
By adopting a source-based approach to investigate the Preliminary core study students gain experience of working as historians. As well, they develop knowledge and skills to help underpin their investigation of the HSC core study.
9.2 Part I: Case Studies
Principal focus: Students apply historical inquiry methods within a range of historical contexts to investigate key features, issues, individuals, groups, events, concepts and other forces in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Outcomes
Students:

P1.1 describe the role of key individuals, groups and events of selected studies from the eighteenth century to the present

P1.2 investigate and explain the key features and issues of selected studies from the eighteenth century to the present

P2.1 identify forces and ideas and explain their significance in contributing to change and continuity from the eighteenth century to the present

P3.1 ask relevant historical questions

P3.2 locate, select and organise relevant information from different types of sources

P3.3 comprehend and analyse sources for their usefulness and reliability

P3.4 identify and account for differing perspectives and interpretations of the past

P3.5 plan and present the findings of historical investigations, analysing and synthesising information from different types of sources

P4.1 use historical terms and concepts appropriately



P4.2 communicate a knowledge and understanding of historical features and issues, using appropriate and well-structured oral and written forms
Students learn to:


  • ask relevant historical questions about selected studies of the modern world

  • locate, select and organise information from different types of sources, including information and communication technologies (ICT), to describe and analyse relevant features and issues of selected studies of the modern world

  • analyse the major events and issues relevant to selected studies of the modern world

  • assess the forces for change and continuity within selected studies of the modern world

  • describe and evaluate the role of key individuals and groups in selected studies of the modern world

  • account for and assess differing perspectives and interpretations of significant events, people and issues in selected studies of the modern world

  • present the findings of investigations on selected studies of the modern world, analysing and synthesising information from different types of sources

  • communicate an understanding of relevant concepts, features and issues using appropriate and well-structured oral and/or written and/or multimedia forms including ICT.


Students learn about:
key features and issues of the modern world

  • political, economic, social and technological features of the selected case study

  • forces for change that emerged in the period of the selected case study

  • the nature of the political, social, economic and technological change that occurred in the period of the selected case study

  • the impact of change on the society or period of the selected case study


concepts (where relevant to the case study)

  • autocracy

  • capitalism

  • communism

  • decolonisation

  • democracy

  • feminism

  • globalisation

  • imperialism

  • industrialisation

  • internationalism

  • liberalism

  • nationalism

  • pan-nationalism

  • racism

  • revolution

  • sectarianism

  • self-determination

  • socialism

  • terrorism




individuals and groups in relation to

  • their historical context

  • their personal background and the values and attitudes that influenced their actions

  • significant events and achievements

  • their contribution to the society and time in which they lived and the legacy of this contribution


events in relation to

  • factors contributing to the events

  • main features of the events

  • impact of the events on the history of an individual nation, region and/or the world as
    a whole.

Students undertake at least TWO case studies.

Teachers may develop their own case studies.
ONE case study must be from Europe, North America or Australia – see examples below.
ONE case study must be from Asia, the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East or Central/South America – see examples below.
Case studies must not overlap or duplicate significantly any topic attempted in the HSC Modern History or History Extension courses.



List A: Examples of Case Studies from Europe, North America and Australia

List B: Examples of Case Studies from Asia, the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and Central/South America

1 The trans-Atlantic slave trade

2 The Reign of Terror in France 1792–95

3 The social consequences of industrialisation in Britain in the early nineteenth century

4 The decline and fall of the Romanov dynasty

5 Yankees and Confederates in the American states in the mid-nineteenth century

6 Bismarck and the unification of the German states

7 The Paris Commune 1871

8 Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragette Movement

9 The 1916 Easter Rebellion in Ireland and its consequences

10 Bodyline bowling and the 1932–1933 Anglo-Australian test series

11 The failure of the League of Nations

12 The Civil Rights Movement in the USA in the 1950s and 1960s

13 The struggle for Indigenous rights in Canada in the late twentieth century

14 Post-Communist Russia



1 The Indian Mutiny 1857

2 The Meiji Restoration: nature and impact

3 The Boxer Rebellion in China

4 The making of modern South Africa 1890–1910

5 The Netherlands East Indies in the early twentieth century

6 The origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1880s–1947

7 Decolonisation in Indochina 1945–1954

8 Nuclear testing in the Pacific 1950s to 1960s

9 The Cuban Revolution and its impact in Latin America

10 Allende, Pinochet and the 1973 military coup in Chile

11 Ayatollah Khomeini and Muslim
Fundamentalism

12 Aung San Suu Kyi and the pro-democracy movement in Burma

13 Tibet’s fight for survival in the modern world

14 The Chinese Government and Tiananmen Square




A brief outline of possible areas of focus for each case study in List A is provided on the following pages.


The case studies must be taught using the framework provided under ‘students learn to’ and ‘students learn about’ on pages 16–17.
LIST A: Examples of case studies from Europe, North America and Australia
A1 The trans-Atlantic slave trade

  • the slave trade as an aspect of western imperial and economic expansion in both Africa and America

  • the economic, social and political impact of the slave trade on Indigenous peoples

  • the role of the plantation owners in the slave trade

  • the fight for the abolition of the slave trade


A2 The Reign of Terror in France 1792–1795

  • overview of events 1789–1792

  • Robespierre and the Terror

  • Madame Guillotine and her victims

  • the end of the Terror


A3 The social consequences of industrialisation in Britain in the early nineteenth century

  • main characteristics of the Industrial Revolution

  • relationship between industrialisation and the growth of towns

  • living and working conditions for working-class people

  • economic and social divisions between rich and poor


A4 The decline and fall of the Romanov dynasty

  • Nicholas II as autocrat

  • political, social and economic grievances in early twentieth-century Russia

  • the Tsar’s failure to address the problems of Russia

  • the role of World War I in the fall of the tsarist regime


A5 Yankees and Confederates in the American states in the mid-nineteenth century

  • the South and States’ Rights

  • slavery and human rights

  • the North and the issue of national unity

  • results of the Civil War


A6 Bismarck and the unification of the German states

  • the role of liberalism and nationalism in creating a sense of German unity

  • Bismarckian foreign policy

  • wars of national unification against Austria and France

  • the immediate consequences of German unification


A7 The Paris Commune 1871

  • divisions between Paris and the rest of France following the Franco-Prussian War

  • how and why the Commune was set up

  • aims and structure of the Commune

  • national and regional impact of the defeat of the Commune

A8 Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragette Movement

  • social and political roles of women in nineteenth-century Britain

  • aims and tactics of the Suffragette Movement

  • political and social gains of the movement by the end of World War I

  • the role of Emmeline Pankhurst


A9 The 1916 Easter Rebellion in Ireland and its consequences

  • causes of the Easter Rebellion

  • events of the Easter Rebellion

  • consequences of the rebellion in heightening demands for Irish independence

  • roles of significant individuals in the rebellion, eg Patrick Pearse, James Connolly


A10 Bodyline bowling and the 1932–1933 Anglo-Australian test series

  • role of test-cricket in Anglo-Australian relations

  • reasons for the development of bodyline bowling

  • controversy over bodyline bowling in the 1932–1933 test series

  • social and imperial implications of the bodyline controversy


A11 The failure of the League of Nations

  • structure, goals and membership of the League of Nations

  • early successes of the League

  • the Corfu Incident and the Greco-Bulgarian dispute as examples of problems in decision-making

  • reasons for the League’s failure


A12 The Civil Rights Movement in the USA in the 1950s and 1960s

  • segregation in the USA in the 1960s

  • Martin Luther King and the use of non-violence to achieve civil rights objectives

  • the development of more radical methods and individuals in the 1960s, eg Malcolm X and the Black Panthers

  • achievements of the Civil Rights Movement


A13 The struggle for Indigenous rights in Canada in the late twentieth century

  • British and French colonisation of Canada

  • the impact of colonisation on Indigenous peoples

  • recognition of Indigenous land rights in Canada during the twentieth century

  • international reaction to the Canadian solution


A14 Post-Communist Russia

  • problems resulting from attempts to implement a western-style market economy

  • the roles of individuals, eg Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Zhirinovsky

  • war in Chechnya and attempts to maintain the Russian Federation

  • political problems emanating from the move towards parliamentary democracy in Russia


Teachers may develop their own case study. The case study must not overlap or duplicate significantly any topic attempted for the HSC Modern History or History Extension courses.
A brief outline of possible areas of focus for each case study in List B is provided on the following pages.
The case studies must be taught using the framework provided under ‘students learn to’ and ‘students learn about’ on pages 16–17.
LIST B: Examples of case studies from Asia, the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and Central/South America
B1 The Indian Mutiny 1857

  • reasons for the British presence in India

  • forces and events that led to the 1857 Indian Mutiny

  • the course of the Mutiny

  • the impact of the Mutiny on Anglo-Indian relations


B2 The Meiji Restoration: nature and impact

  • internal conditions in Japan that allowed modernisation to take place

  • how and why Japanese modernisation was carried out

  • consequences of modernisation for Japan, the region and the Emperor

  • growth of Japanese militarism and imperialism following the Restoration


B3 The Boxer Rebellion in China

  • origins, aims and membership of the secret society of ‘Righteous and Harmonious Fists’ (the Boxers)

  • role and motivation of the Empress Ci Xi in encouraging the Boxers

  • nature, extent and impact of the rebellion

  • consequences of the rebellion and its implications for China and the Qing dynasty


B4 The making of modern South Africa 1890–1910

  • British colonies, the Boer Republic and African kingdoms c1890

  • diamonds, gold and African labour transforms the Veld

  • the South African War (Boer War) 1899–1902

  • creation of the Union of South Africa and its racial compromises


B5 The Netherlands East Indies in the early twentieth century

  • rubber, oil and the economic importance of the outer islands

  • the conquest of Bali and integration of the Indies

  • the Ethical Policy and the impact of Kartini

  • the emergence of ethnic, Muslim, secular and communist nationalist movements


B6 The origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1880s–1947

  • Zionism – its origins and aspirations

  • conflicting Arab and Jewish responses to the Balfour Declaration

  • the nature of Arab and Jewish responses to the question of a Jewish homeland post-World War II

  • the UN partition of Palestine


B7 Decolonisation in Indochina 1945–1954

  • the impact of French imperialism on Indochina

  • the rise of Vietnamese nationalism and war against the French

  • the growth of Vietnamese nationalism/communism

  • the defeat of France

B8 Nuclear testing in the Pacific 1950s to 1960s

  • geographic, ideological and political motives for the testing of nuclear weapons by western powers in the Pacific

  • the use of the Marshall Islands, Mururoa Atoll and Australia for nuclear testing

  • the role, responsibility and compliance of local authorities and governments concerning the testing of nuclear devices

  • impact of nuclear fallout on the Indigenous peoples and ex-service people involved


B9 The Cuban Revolution and its impact in Latin America

  • forces leading to revolution in Cuba in 1959

  • Fidel Castro and his leadership of revolutionary Cuba

  • key features of revolutionary Cuba

  • Cuban influence in Latin America


B10 Allende, Pinochet and the 1973 military coup in Chile

  • national and international implications of the election of Allende

  • the role of Pinochet and the USA in overthrowing the Allende Government

  • key events and features of the military coup

  • national and international implications of the rule of the Pinochet military government


B11 Ayatollah Khomeini and Muslim fundamentalism

  • the nature and rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East

  • the Shah of Iran and his overthrow by the Khomeini forces in 1979

  • impact of the Khomeini regime on Iran

  • international impact of Islamic fundamentalism


B12 Aung San Suu Kyi and the pro-democracy movement in Burma

  • rise of the military in Burma

  • rise and role of the pro-democracy movement

  • significance of Aung San Suu Kyi

  • the reaction of military leaders in response to the pro-democracy movement


B13 Tibet’s fight for survival in the modern world

  • China’s hegemony in her immediate region

  • social, cultural and political factors and the move to Tibetan independence

  • the roles of key individuals in promoting Tibetan independence, eg the Dalai Lama

  • impact of the continuing Chinese occupation of Tibet


B14 The Chinese Government and Tiananmen Square

  • the role of dissidents in China in the 1970s and 1980s

  • the origins and nature of events in Tiananmen Square in June 1989

  • response of the Chinese Government under Deng Xiaoping

  • national and international repercussions of suppression in the dissident movement


Teachers may develop their own case study. The case study must not overlap or duplicate significantly any topic attempted for the HSC Modern History or History Extension courses.
9.3 Part II: Historical Investigation
The historical investigation is designed to provide opportunities for all students to further develop relevant investigative, research and presentation skills that are the core of the historical inquiry process. The outcomes addressed in the investigation build on those in the Years 7–10 History syllabus. Modern History students will access the Preliminary Stage 6 outcomes at different levels depending on their previous experiences and abilities. The investigation also provides the context for a practical application of the key competencies described on page 13.
The historical investigation should extend a particular area of individual student or group interest. The investigation can be integrated into any aspect of the Preliminary course and need not be completed as one project.
Students should be encouraged to select a topic and presentation style that reflects their individual interests and abilities.
Possible historical investigations could include:

  • a case study

  • aspects of a case study

  • aspects of the Preliminary core study

  • significant individuals or groups

  • significant events

  • aspects of society

  • a thematic study

  • historical debates

  • historical concepts

  • historical sites

  • constructions of the modern world by the media.


The investigation should not overlap or duplicate significantly any topic attempted for the HSC Modern History or History Extension courses.
The process of investigation involves:

  • planning and conducting historical investigations

  • comprehending written sources

  • locating, selecting and organising relevant information from a variety of sources

  • using a variety of sources to develop a view about historical issues

  • analysing sources for their usefulness and reliability

  • identifying different historical perspectives and interpretations evident in sources

  • formulating historical questions and hypotheses relevant to the investigation

  • using historical terms and concepts appropriately

  • synthesising information from a range of sources to develop and support a historical argument

  • presenting and communicating the findings of the historical investigation using appropriate and well-structured oral and/or written and/or multimedia forms
    including ICT.

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