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AIS2050 - Celluloid Images of Indigenous Australia

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Lynette Russell


Not offered in 2007


This unit will examine the ways in which Australian Indigenous culture and history has been depicted in film. Focusing on films that span the period from 1930 to the present the unit will consider, how these representations are affected by and reflect the historical circumstances of Australian Indigenous people and race-relations more generally. The unit will involve the viewing of at least one film each week, which represents aspects of Indigenous Australia. More recent films made by Indigenous filmmakers or in consultation with Indigenous communities will occupy us in the later section of the unit.


Upon completion of this units students will be able to:

  1. Describe and critically compare the major shifts in Indigenous filmic representation and relate these to the shifting phases of Australian race relations.
  2. Examine leading attitudes which dominate current thinking about Indigenous film and reflect on those representations offered by non-Indigenous filmmakers.
  3. Understand the importance of film as a means for conveying (and reflecting) information about Indigenous Australia to both the academic and general audience.
  4. Become capable of reading filmic representations of Australian Indigenous culture.
  5. Provide a reasoned defence of their preferred position on the value of filmic representations of Indigenous Australia and enhance their skills in the oral and written exposition, evaluation and development of reasoned argument on the subject.


Oral seminar presentation: 10%
Short expository exercise related to the seminar presentation (1000 words): 20%
Essay (3000 words): 70%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week plus up to 2 hours per week film viewing