Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedGippsland First semester 2012 (Day)
Gippsland First semester 2012 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Robyn Heckenberg


Previously coded AIS2011


The intention of this unit is to address the following issues: how do (nation) states define indigenous peoples? How do people get classified as indigenous or aboriginal? How has globalisation enhanced awareness of minority and human rights everywhere? The course will show how being indigenous is often a product of state politics, negotiation of identities between local, state and transnational pressure, and even of individual self-selection. We will re-examine debates over universal values versus cultural relativism, flexible citizenship and identity, and group versus individual identities.


  1. On the successful completion of this unit students will have developed an understanding of the social, political and economic impact that Indigenous Australians and other Indigenous peoples face.
  2. Students will have a working knowledge of specific countries' policies and practices and how these are perceived by their Indigenous populations.
  3. Students will have engaged with issues of research and research methodologies in relation to Indigenous societies.
  4. Students will also have developed an awareness of the value of the bi-cultural approach to looking at Indigenousness.
Additionally, students will have an understanding of the key concepts of self-determination in relation to where these societies live.
  1. Students will be able to locate relevant resources.
  2. Students will be able to assess the value of those resources and construct effective arguments on Indigenous societies in Australia and other countries.


Short Essay (800 words): 20%
Long Essay (1700 words): 35%
Examination (2 hours): 45%

Chief examiner(s)

Robyn Heckenberg

Contact hours

2 hour seminar per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Australian Indigenous studies


AIS1010 or AIS1011 or ATS1251 and AIS1040 or ATS1252


AIS2011, AIS3011, ATS3745