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Unit (2019)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2019 academic year.

Spies, Saboteurs and Secret Agents (HIS257)

Organisational Unit Global Studies
Credit Points 3
Description This unit examines the growth of the 'secret world' of modern intelligence communities during the twentieth century, including the intelligence they provided, their use by governments in peace and war, and their influence on policy and events. Topics include: intelligence and special operations during the two world wars, the Cold War and the 'war on terror'; signals intelligence and codebreaking; the nature of the 'intelligence cycle' and intelligence failures; and the evolution of intelligence communities in the main world powers.
Unit Learning Outcomes On completion of the unit, students will have:
1. Gained an understanding of the impact of intelligence, espionage and counter-espionage activities on key historical events of the twentieth century.
2. Increased their appreciation of the contingency of historical development.
Threshold Learning Outcomes for History:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of at least one period or culture of the past
2. Identify and interpret a wide variety of secondary and primary materials
3. Examine historical issues by undertaking research according to the methodological and ethical conventions of the discipline
4. Analyse historical evidence, scholarship and changing representations of the past
5. Construct an evidence-based argument or narrative in audio, digital, oral, visual or written form
Timetabled Learning Activities Lectures: 1.5 hours per week; tutorials: 1 hour per week
Unit Learning Experiences The approach to learning in this unit is a combination of lectures and small group tutorials, backed by significant weekly student reading. The intention is that the lectures each week broadly introduce a topic and provide critical analysis of the main historical debates and trends; they do not provide simple summaries of events or content. The readings for each week are closely focused on the key issues and relate directly to each other and to the week's lecture. Tutorial work is thus vital to student learning, as it is in the small group discussions that students will combine the lecture content with their own analysis of the readings to gain insight into key debates.
Assessment in the unit is tied back to these learning activities. In-class participation in the unit's tutorials addresses oral, analytical and synoptic skills. Written assignments focus upon the development of critical and research skills, with detailed feedback provided by the unit coordinator. The essay task asks students to provide an answer to a specified question from one of the weekly tutorials, thus requiring them to draw upon the insights they have developed and to crystalise them in written form. The final exam asks students to answer questions tied specifically back to the weekly tutorial discussions: again, the purpose is to allow them the opportunity to demonstrate the insights they have gained through their consideration of the readings and lectures in close discussion at tutorials.
Assessment Mid-term test (internal students) 25%
Online mid-term quiz (external students) 25%
Case study essay 40%
Final examination (2 hours) 35%
Prerequisites Nil.
Exclusions Students who have previously completed HIS230 Spies, Saboteurs and Secret Agents may not enrol in this unit for credit.
Appears in these Courses/Majors:
see individual structures for context
History (BA)
Appears in these Co-Majors History
Appears in these Minors Modern History
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.


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