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AIS2110 - Indigenous heritage in the contemporary world

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Stephen Pritchard and Amanda Kearney


Clayton Second semester 2009 (Day)


This unit offers an interdisciplinary examination of Indigenous heritage and cultural property. By reference to key texts from anthropology, legal studies, history and art criticism, it will focus on the 'belongings' of culture; both in terms of material and intangible aspects of culture as well as the sense in which 'things' are understood to belong to cultures. Topics covered will include material culture, intangible cultural heritage and emotional engagements with cultural property, international interest in safeguarding cultural heritage and the re-assertment of Indigenous control and ownership of heritage.


This unit aims to provide students with an understanding of historical and contemporary issues and approaches relating to Australian Indigenous heritage from a range of disciplinary perspectives. On successful completion of this subject students will be able to:

  1. describe and critically compare both orally and in writing the major shifts in approaches to Indigenous heritage and cultural property.
  2. examine leading attitudes, which dominate current thinking about culture and heritage from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including law, history, anthropology and archaeology.
  3. understand of the importance of heritage and cultural property to social justice and reconciliation.
  4. critically analyzing legal, anthroplogical and historical representations of heritage and understand their relationship debates concerning the cultural politics of representation and self-determination.
  5. engage with global interest and international instruments concerned with 'categorising' and 'safeguarding' human heritage and cultural property
  6. demonstrate both orally and in writing an understanding of heritage debates in terms of historical and contemporary relations between Indigenous peoples and the law, anthropology and archaeology


1 Seminar paper (1000 word) : 20%
1 Research essay (3000 word) : 70%
1 Oral presentation (500 word equivalent) : 10%

Contact hours

2 hour seminar per week


Any 1st year sequence in Arts, Social Work, Education or Law or permission of Undergraduate Coordinator



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