Faculty of Arts

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 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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12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitSchool of Journalism, Australian and Indigenous Studies
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)John Arnold


Previously coded AUS4230


This unit is designed for students with little or no knowledge of Indigenous Australians. It provides an overview of the diverse society and culture of Indigenous Australians before European settlement, the impact of white contact, the adjustment to white society, patterns of resistance, Aboriginal political activism and the move to reconciliation. Themes addressed include violent conflict and dispossession, cultural diversity and difference, questions of identity, and how academics have addressed and interpreted these themes. The unit makes extensive use of documentaries, online resources and government responses including the Bringing them Home Report and the 2008 Apology.


Upon successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Have an overview and understanding of the complexity and plurality of Indigenous Australian society, culture and history;
  2. Understand the impacts of European settlement and white contact on Australian indigenous nations and cultures;
  3. Have an understanding of the long history of Indigenous resistance to the process of colonisation from the 18th to the 21st century;
  4. Have an understanding of the impact and effects of paternalistic government policies including assimilation and the forced removal of children from their families;
  5. Have an appreciation of indigenous relationships to the land, and the political movement for land rights and recognition of Aboriginal sovereignty;
  6. Develop an understanding of the Aboriginal contribution to Australia, including in politics, business, religion, sport, music and the arts;
  7. Be able to interpret and analyse the experiences of indigenous people as accessed through a variety of texts;
  8. Be able to conduct research about Indigenous Australians at post-graduate level.


Seminar participation/presentation: 10%
Book/film review (1500 words): 15%
Stolen Generation individual testament study (2500 words): 25%
Long research essay (5000 words): 50%

Contact hours

One 3-hour combined lecture/seminar per week