America and Australia: The issues compared


In this unit we explore major American social issues by comparing them with similar issues in Australia. What makes America different? How do personal rights, from gun rights to LGBTI rights, work differently in the two countries? What differences and similarities exist on issues like race and mass incarceration? How much do we either exaggerate or downplay political differences between the United States and ourselves?

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit, students will be able to:

  • Identify key social differences and similarities between the United States and Australia.
  • Use comparison as a method of understanding social issues across different countries.
  • Explain the historical and cultural factors that lead to differences in social and political outcomes between the countries.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate claims that Americans and Australians make about their own uniqueness or difference from each other.
  • Reflect on how our understanding of American social issues affects our understanding of Australian social issues, and vice versa.

The Fine Print

Taught in Semester 1, 2022
1 x 2 hour lecture per week
1 x 1 hour tutorial per week
View timetable


10% tutorial reflection excersise (500 words)
40% exam (2 hours)
50% comparison essay (2000 words)

More Details

Visit the University of Sydney website for information about fees, cross-institutional and non-award study, and more.

Unit Coordinator