Study Abroad Opportunities

Australia: The Economy & Its Social Context

This course is primarily concerned with the nature of the Australian economy and its development over the past 200 years; importantly, however, it is also designed to examine the connections between its economic institutions and broader Australian culture. We therefore discuss not only economic conditions and policies across time but also the country's history, its politics, and its culture. Through lectures, guest speakers, and site visits we compare and contrast Australia with both the United States as well as its geographical neighbors with whom it has deep economic ties.

The topics we cover include the recent performance of the Australian economy and its position in the global marketplace, the parliamentary system and the "hot" political issues of recent years (including aboriginal land rights), differences between U.S. and Australian attitudes and how these are reflected in divergent economic policies, the impact of Australia's unique founding as a penal colony on its economic and cultural development, and the importance of Southeast Asia to its economic performance. By the end of the course, students will be able to describe not only the state of the economy but also explain and understand unique Australian cultural phenomena such as "cutting down the tall poppy."

We hope that this course helps you to:

Understand Economic Issues/Policies

In particular, we will analyze Australia's economic performance, the role played by the government in the economy, stresses on the economy due to globalization, and the status of different groups within Australia.

Learn General Facts About Australian Politics, History & Culture

Specifically, we hope that students can describe important events in Australia's history (its founding as a penal colony, its move toward independence, its role in international affairs, and the move toward a republic status), the functioning of a parliamentary system and the specific issues that are currently under discussion in the political arena, and cultural attitudes (toward competition and teamwork, egalitarianism, and minority groups) and how they are either similar to or different from those in the U.S.

Think More Deeply About Diverse Peoples & Cultures

This course is designed to meet the human diversity component of the core curriculum through a variety of activities and topics. The overarching goal is to help you better understand cultural differences between and within nations, as well as your own cultural values and attitudes. This course seeks to do this in the breadth of its coverage across Australian v. American differences, as well as differences across racial, gender, and socioeconomic lines. By the end of the course you should more fully comprehend how social values and attitudes vary in important ways across groups; how these values and attitudes can be influenced formed by economic, historical and other experiences; and how our understanding of economic outcomes, conditions, and policies can in turn be enhanced by deeper examination of these cultural and identity differences.