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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

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

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2011
Coordinator(s)Dr. Karen Hughes


A cross-disciplinary field-based unit taught by immersion in an Aboriginal community, aimed at deepening understanding of Indigenous Australia. Students will engage with Aboriginal elders with diverse expert knowledges and with leading academics in Indigenous studies, and undertake fieldwork at significant historical and cultural sites in south-eastern Australia. The unit provides a historically grounded focus from which to consider a range of issues that engage the disciplines of history, anthropology, archaeology, environmental studies and law, drawing on relationships to 'country', cultural heritage, oral traditions and Indigenous knowledge approaches to the environmental crisis.


The objectives of this subject are to explore in depth Indigenous history and cultural continuity in a southern Australian Aboriginal community, through Aboriginal people's lived experiences and relationships to country and place, past and present. The unit focuses on the significance and active presence, and the continuity and persistence of Indigenous cultural landscapes in the seemingly colonised world of south eastern Australia.The unit will introduce students to a variety of fieldwork practices and methodologies. Importance will be placed on embodied histories, lived experiences, voice and cultural memory and the interrelationships between land, body and story. On successful completion of the unit students will gain an appreciation of Indigenous modes of historical practice and an understanding of the complex interconnections between theory and praxis. Through interactions with elders, students will gain a personalised understanding of the impact of colonial and more recent policies, on Aboriginal communities and individuals, and of the many innovative ways in which Indigenous peoples have successfully subverted, resisted, challenged and survived colonial, mission, and state regimes through actual case studies. The subject aims also to desegregate the way mainstream Australian history is often popularly conceptualised, examining the materiality of the contact zone and how cross-cultural relations were and continue to be played out in everyday lives.


Class project (800 words): 15%
Essay (2500 words): 60%
Reflexive Journal (1200 words): 25%

Contact hours

One 3 hour on-campus workshop
One 5 day immersion, staying 5 nights at Camp Coorong, comprised of 6 contact hours per day composed of workshops, lectures and field trips with time for reflection and personal interaction
One 2 hour on-campus debriefing summary workshop

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

Archaeology and ancient history
Australian Indigenous studies
Australian studies
Comparative literature and cultural studies
Sustainability, environment and society


ATS1254 or ATS1250 or ATS1249 or with approval of coordinator