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AIS2080 - Native Title: Approaches, Issues, Debates

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Stephen Pritchard


Clayton Second semester 2007 (Day)


This unit undertakes an inter-disciplinary study of historical and contemporary approaches to Australian Indigenous land rights and native title. It critically examines law, legislation and historical and political approaches to Aboriginal land rights prior to the decision in Mabo vs The State of Queensland, the debates surrounding the Mabo case, Wik vs The State of Queensland, Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community vs Victoria, the Native Title Act, the Native Title Amendment Act, as well as a range of associated topics including the relationship between native title, history, heritage, anthropology, and archaeology.


Upon completion of this units students will be able to:

  1. Describe and critically compare both orally and in writing the major shifts in approaches to native title and land rights.
  2. Evaluate the prevailing attitudes which dominate current thinking about native title from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including law, history, anthropology and archaeology.
  3. Understand the importance of native title and land rights to social justice and reconciliation.
  4. Critically analyse legal, political and historical representations of native title and understand their relationship to debates concerning the cultural politics of representation and self-determination.
  5. Demonstrate both orally and in writing an understanding of native title debates in terms of historical and contemporary relations between Indigenous peoples and the law.


Oral seminar presentation: 10%
Short expository exercise related to the seminar presentation (1500 words): 20%
Essay (3000 words): 70%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week


First year sequence or permission of coordinator