This unit will examine the ways in which spiritual yearning manifests itself in contemporary Australian culture. There will be particular focus upon signs of spirituality as they are revealed in the arts, Indigenous culture, volunteerism and the interpretations of religious experience in daily life. Students will examine the ways in which spirituality finds expression in a multicultural, multi-faith context. The unit will also examine some of the reasons for the decline in formal religious life whilst grappling with the reasons why spirituality is largely ignored by the secular mainstream.

Unit code: DS3035W

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Spirituality

Proposing College: Whitley College

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Learning outcomes


Demonstrate an understanding of the nature and role of spirituality in Australian society


Identify and analyse the role and nature of spirituality in indigenous Australian cultures


Critically reflect on the tension between indigenous cultures and non-indigenous cultures, based on sacred and secular assumptions and values


Critically consider the process and history of secularisation in Australia and its impact on Christianity and other religions

Unit sequence

This unit may be taken within an under graduate award. Students will have completed at least two units of prior study, including one in field D.


Lectures, seminars and group discussion

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bouma, G., Australian Soul: Religion and Spirituality in the 21st Century (Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
  • Grieves, V., Aboriginal Spirituality: Aboriginal Philosophy: The Basis of Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing (Darwin: Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health, 2009).
  • Hudson, W Australian Religious Thought (Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2016).
  • Lohrey, A., A Short History of Richard Kline (Melbourne: Black Inc., 2016).
  • Mackay, H., Beyond Belief: How we find meaning, with or without religion. (Sydney: MacMillan Press, 2016).
  • Paranjape, M. ed., Sacred Australia: Post-Secular Considerations (Melbourne: Clouds of Magellan, 2009).
  • Stanner, W. E. H., ed. Robert Manne, The Dreaming and Other Essays (Melbourne: Black Inc, 2009).
  • Tacey, D. Re-Enchantment: The New Australian Spirituality (Sydney: HarperCollins, 2000).


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Essay 4000 words

4000 75.0
Book Review

Book Review 1000 words

1000 25.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 30 Sep, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-11-12 15:33:10 +1100