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AIS2011 - Dynamics of Indigenous Cultures

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: TBA


Not offered in 2007


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%

Contact hours

2 hour seminar per week


AIS1010 or AIS1011 and AIS1040 or AIS1012