ATS2358 - Contesting laws: Heritage, culture and land - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

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




Dr Liam Brady

Unit guides



  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


When Europeans arrived in Australia they brought with them a complex system of laws which were markedly different to those used and practiced by Indigenous Australians for thousands of years. The subsequent imposition of European law over Indigenous law created significant tensions especially in relation to Indigenous connections to land, sea and culture. This unit undertakes an interdisciplinary study related to Indigenous Law, land rights, Native Title, Indigenous knowledge and cultural heritage. The unit critically examines some of the emerging and recent debates involving: Native Title and mining; intangible heritage (art-song-story); and general public responses to Indigenous land rights.


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.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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


Twelve credit points of first-year Arts units.