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Work with us

Work with leading academics to create and deliver a unique and diverse liberal arts curriculum, teaching small cohorts of some of Australia’s brightest students and supporting the School by producing high-quality, impactful research.

Joining UOW’s School of Liberal Arts presents attractive terms and an exciting opportunity for outstanding people to contribute to the creation of a unique, high-quality degree program while also becoming part of a unique, research-rich academic unit.

We encourage applications from qualified academics who are committed to delivering student-centred learning and personalised approaches to teaching and who also aspire to produce world-class research and scholarship.

Two Academic positions available: Literature and/or Classics, Level B-D

Teaching Needs

Academics in the School of Liberal Arts are expected to support teaching in any part of the degree as required. In the new set of appointments we are seeking qualified academics who can help design and develop the following subjects: WCIV204; WCIV206; WCIV302; and WCIV303.

This subject is foundational for the entire degree. It provides basic training on how to approach great works and prepares students for studying this degree. Students are introduced to an updated idea of Hutchins’s (1952) ‘the great conversation’, becoming acquainted with the educational vision that underpins their liberal arts degree. Focusing on exemplary ‘works of genius’ students learn how to engage with and appreciate great intellectual and artistic masterpieces. In each case, students confront the philosophical questions raised by the work. They explore how great works of Western civilization speak to one another across the ages and how those works might be viewed from diverse perspectives, both within and beyond Western traditions of thought and art. Students learn how their studies will advantage them in their lives and careers and discover why a liberal arts education is of contemporary relevance.

Ancient Greece produced some of Europe’s finest and most lasting works in fiction, history and theatre. In this subject, students will become acquainted with a sample of these great works, exploring Ancient Greek ideas and ideals of, for example, Aretê; heroism; tragedy, comedy, and beauty. Students will assess the relevance of these ideas and ideals to contemporary concerns and thought.

Indicative works to be examined include: Homer’s epic poems The Iliad and The Odyssey; Hesiod, Theogony; Works and Days; Aeschylus, Agamemnon; The Persians; Sophocles, Oedipus Rex, Antigone; Euripides, Medea, The Trojan Women; Aristophanes, Lysistrata; Clouds; Frogs; Aristotle, The Poetics.

This subject examines philosophical conceptions of wisdom, truth and reason prominent in ancient times and today. It introduces students to theories of truth; theories of knowledge; sophistry; scepticism; and classical and non-standard conceptions of logic and reasoning.

Indicative readings include selections from: Plato, Republic; The Apology; Theaetetus; Aristotle, Rhetoric, Prior Analytics, Categories, Topics; Metaphysics; Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrhhonism; Nāgārjuna, The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way. Students also engage with the work of contemporary authors such as: Simon Blackburn; Harry Frankfurt; Miranda Fricker; W.V.O. Quine; Richard Rorty; Linda Zagzebski.

This subject is foundational for the entire degree. It provides basic training on how to approach great art and architecture. Focusing on selected exemplars students learn how to engage with and appreciate great artistic and architectural masterpieces. In each case, students will confront the philosophical questions raised by the work under scrutiny. Students are introduced to philosophical theories of art and put these to the test by looking with reference to cases studies - examples of great music, paintings, and literature from across the Western canon.

Students will be challenged to think about the following questions: Can art educate? Can art improve us morally? And if so, how? Can art build or edify moral character? If so, do different art forms do so differently? Is there any means to distinguish morally insightful from morally dubious art?

This subject looks at a Roman Republic and Empire through the eyes of its historical, literary, poetic and philosophical products. Students are acquainted with a sample of these great works, and will assess their relevance to contemporary concerns and debates.

Indicative works to be examined include: Livy, From the Foundation of the City; Plautus, Amphytrion; Cicero, De Re Publica, De Officiis; Caesar, On the Gallic Wars; Plutarch, Life of Julius Caesar; Vergil, Aeneid; Petronius, The Satyricon; Juvenal, Satires; Lucretius, De Rerum Natura; Seneca, Epistles; Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.

What, if anything, makes a good life? Could one live well just by satisfying one’s desires? What role does pleasure have in a good life? What role does honour, or other virtues, have in the good life? What is the role of friendship in the good life? Is the meaning of life externally given or can we create our own meaning? Could there be more than one ultimate end to life? Which virtues, if any, are best? Are the virtues unified?

Ancient thinkers were deeply concerned with the good life and how to live it. This subject gives special attention to Aristotle’s account of human nature, ethics and the virtues, drawing mainly from De Anima and Nicomachean Ethics. Comparisons are made with The Analects of Confucius. Students explore the contemporary relevance of virtue ethics, and its credibility today, in response to current critiques and concerns, looking especially at themes in Alasdair MacIntyre’s seminal, After Virtue (1984). Students engage in independent study on selected topics for which will form the focus of a small group presentation.

The Middle Ages lasted in Europe from roughly the one thousand years spanning from the fall of the Western Roman Empire ca. AD 500 to the beginning of the late 15th century. Europe was later reborn and reformed during the Renaissance. In this subject, students engage with classic literary and artistic works from these remarkable periods.

Indicative works to be examined include: Chretien de Troyes, Song of Roland; Dante, The Divine Comedy; Margery Kempe, The Book of Margery Kempe; Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales; Sir Gawain and the Green Knight; Desiderius Erasmus, In Praise of Folly; Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince; Michel de Montaigne, Essais.

Students will critical examine the early modern debates, that resonate today, been rationalist and their empiricists challengers about the nature of ideas and whether and how they are acquired.

Indicative readings include: Selections from Plato, The Meno, The Republic; René Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, Discourse on the Method; Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, The Monadology; John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding; George Berkeley, Principles of Human Knowledge, Three Dialogues between Hylan and Philonous; David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding

Holy texts are taken to reveal sacred, divine truths. From this starting point this subject reflects on the nature of religious belief and practice. It focuses on selected readings from The Bible. Comparisons are made between relevant passages of The Bible and The Quran, the scared text of Islam. Student will discover how these sacred texts inform the religious attitudes that influence Western thinking, art and literature.

This subject explores the critical importance of revelation in the phenomenology and epistemology of religion – it will examine various accounts of the possible relation between reason, faith and revelation and the classic proofs of God’s existence.

Additional indicative readings include: Aquinas, The Summa Theologiae; Saint Augustine of Hippo, Confessions in Thirteen Books.

This subject focuses on a study of selected works of the late Renaissance. Questions will be raised about the relation between philosophy and literature, asking to what extent and in what way philosophical thought infuses imaginative literature. In musing on these matters, students will examine selected comic, tragic and historical works and plays – those of Shakespeare as well as those of his forerunners and contemporaries, such as: Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene and Christopher Marlowe’s The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. Other indicative works that may be examined include: John Donne, selected sonnets and poems; John Milton, Paradise Lost; Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha.

Students will approach the works they scrutinize bearing in mind questions raised by the philosophy of literature: Do the works make any philosophical assumptions? Do they advance or attempt to justify any philosophical claims? How does engaging with such works shape our imagination? What should we make of alternative and anachronistic accounts of the story-worlds portrayed in great literature?

Western science arose and matured in the West between the late 15th and the late 17th centuries. In this subject students become acquainted with exemplary works produced during the momentous period that constitutes the birth of science in the West. They investigate which non-Western influences played a part in that birth and how well contemporary theories in the philosophy of science can account for it.

Indicative works to be examined include: Francis Bacon, The New Organon; Galileo Galilei, Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina; The Assayer; Nicolaus Copernicus, On the Revolutions; Robert Boyle, The Origin of Forms and Qualities, Part I; The Grounds for and Excellence of the Corpuscular or Mechanical Philosophy, The Excellence of Theology, compared with Natural Philosophy; Anne Conway, The Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy; Isaac Newton, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy; Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan.

Known as the ‘The Century of Lights’, the so-called long 18th century was a time during which ideas dominated. It was a time during which Europe and the Americas underwent intellectual, political and social changes – changes that issued in the modern era. In this subject, students become acquainted with the works of the great thinkers of this period

Indicative readings include: Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract; Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments; Voltaire, Candide; Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France; Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Thomas Paine, Rights of Man.

This subject will investigate the German and English roots of analytic philosophy. It examines the idealist philosophies of Kant and Hegel and ask, how – in importantly different ways - these, relate to and oppose the realistic stances of the analytic philosophers at the turn of the 20th century – Frege, Russell and the early Wittgenstein. It concludes by looking at work of the later Wittgenstein’s and considering to what extent it breaks faith with or develops themes in his earliest writings.

Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason; Hegel, The Phenomenology of Spirit; Gottlob Frege, “Sense and Reference”; “The Thought: A Logical Inquiry”; Bertrand Russell, “On Denoting”; “Logical Atomism”; The Problems of Philosophy; Ludwig Wittgenstein Tractatus Logic-Philosophicus; Philosophical Investigations.

This capstone subject will examine the origins of the idea of democracy at work in contemporary Australia, examining its philosophical roots and in the founding of British and American governments. It will ask penetrating questions about the assumptions behind democratic government and examine the strengths and weaknesses of democracy in today’s world. Students are required to engage in a special capstone project as part of their major final assessment.

Indicative readings: Magna Carta; Hobbes, Leviathan; Locke, Second Treatise on Government; J.S. Mill, On Liberty; Hamilton and Maddison, Federalists Papers; De Tocqueville, Democracy in America; Bagehot, The English Constitution; Deakin, The Federal Story; Hancock, Australia.

The modern era witnessed incredible artistic and intellectual movements connected to larger changes that swept through Europe and the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. These changes were a response to the unsettling social, political, and cultural events of that period – including the first two World Wars. In this subject, students become acquainted with the works of great thinkers and artists of this era.

Indicative readings include: Darwin, On the Origin of Species (selections); Marx and Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party; Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy; Sigmund Freud, Introduction to Psychoanalysis, Civilisation and Its Discontents; W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk; T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land; Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s One; Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex; Germaine Greer The Female Eunuch; Genevieve Lloyd, The Man of Reason: "Male" and "Female" in Western Philosophy.

In Measure for Measure, Act 2, scene 2, 114–123, Isabella speaks of the self as “a glassy essence”. This way of thinking of selves harkens back to a longstanding idea in Western thought and art that selves have an essence – whether divine or otherwise– that stands apart from the rest of nature. Students will reflect on how this idea of the self is portrayed down the ages in great works of arts and literature.

With reference to specific works, students will engage with contemporary philosophical debates about the nature and types of selves. They will confront questions such as: Are there any such things as selves? Is the self is any kind of thing? If there are selves, are they to be understood in phenomenological, minimal or narrative terms, or some combination of these? Or should we adopt no-self views as propounded by certain Western and Buddhist thinkers. Indicative readings include: Beowulf; Norse Sagas; Blake; Wordsworth; Walt Whitman; Emerson, Self-Reliance; Kafka, The Metamorphosis; Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground and other selected representations of the self in Western literature and art. Students will also be acquainted with contemporary works, such as Charles Taylor’s Sources of the Self to guide and inform their inquiries.

Students will gain a practical understanding of issues of fundamental importance for carrying out advanced independent research in the liberal arts. Training in this subject will focus on the following topics: how to choose a non-trivial thesis topic; how to write a research proposal; which methods should be used in designing and planning a liberal arts research project; and what is required for writing strong research papers.

Students will have the opportunity to test their ideas by presenting their work through work-in-progress sessions. Students will learn: what is required for developing a research career in the liberal arts; strategies for publishing in strong venues; why it is important to work on topics that have impact beyond academia; and what should be included in a competitive CV.

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