- 2019


Minor / Major

Commencement year

This area of study entry applies to students commencing this course in 2019 and should be read in conjunction with the relevant course entry in the Handbook.

Any units listed for this area of study relate only to the 'Requirements' outlined in the component of any bachelors double degrees.

Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.

Managing faculty

Faculty of Arts

Offered by

Monash Indigenous Studies Centre


Dr Jeremy Ash

Contact details

Indigenous cultures and historiesIndigenous cultures and histories (http://future.arts.monash.edu/ug-indigenous-cultures-histories/)



This area of study enables students to understand the past and contemporary experiences of Indigenous peoples in Australia and internationally. Students will acquire a general knowledge of different aspects of Indigenous cultures and how these have undergone change and adaptation, and develop skills in constructing critical arguments and analysing topics in terms of their historical and contemporary contexts.

Indigenous cultures and histories units will allow students to develop a sound knowledge of key issues in Indigenous societies, including the ongoing relationship between Indigenous and settler Australians and Indigenous relationships to each other and to the land and sea. Students will examine points of contestation and how these have shaped the position of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in contemporary society. The Indigenous cultures and histories major is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary area focusing on studies in anthropology, archaeology and history. It complements many other study areas including geography, history, politics, linguistics, environmental science, sociology, women's and gender studies, art history and theory, anthropology, archaeology and history. Students undertaking courses from other faculties, such as Law, Education, Science or Engineering will also benefit from including Indigenous cultures and histories in their studies.

Honours can be undertaken in Indigenous cultures and histories, and combined honours may also be taken with other disciplines provided that all honours requirements have been met in both disciplines and subject to the approval of the honours coordinators or heads of the relevant schools.

As a graduate, you can look forward to many exciting career opportunities including in:

  • Indigenous-controlled organisations (e.g. land councils and Native Title organisations)
  • museums, galleries, archives, libraries
  • cultural heritage management
  • national and state parks, (e.g. rangers and managers)
  • organisations advocating for Indigenous and human rights
  • teaching, research and academia (with additional qualifications)
  • the private sector (eg, advisory role to tourism or mining industries)
  • the not-for-profit sector (eg, AusAID, International Red Cross or similar organisations)
  • policy (eg, public service and government agencies)


Indigenous cultures and histories is listed in A2000 Bachelor of Arts at Clayton as a major and a minor, and in A0502 Diploma of Liberal Arts at Clayton as a major.


In addition to achieving the broad outcomes of their course, students successfully completing this major will be able to:

  • understand the diversity of Indigenous Australia, colonialism, decolonisation and social justice and critically examine constructions of Indigeneity and discourses of 'Aboriginalism' using sound theoretical concepts
  • recognise and critically assess current intellectual traditions in Indigenous studies in national and international contexts and apply these traditions to real-world problems


Major requirements (48 points)

No more than 12 points at level 1 may be credited to the majormajor (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/2019handbooks/undergrad/arts-07.html) and at least 18 points must be at level 3.

Students complete:

  1. Two level 1 gateway unitsgateway units (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/2019handbooks/undergrad/arts-08.html) (12 points):
    • ATS1250 Social justice and Indigenous Australians
    • ATS1254 Culture, power and difference: Indigeneity and Australian identity
  2. One level 2 cornerstone unitcornerstone unit (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/2019handbooks/undergrad/arts-08.html) (6 points) chosen from:
    • ATS2355 Race and power: Imagining Indigenous Australia
    • ATS2358 Contesting laws: Heritage, culture and land
  3. One level 3 capstone unitcapstone unit (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/2019handbooks/undergrad/arts-08.html) (6 points) chosen from:
    • ATS3280 The ethnographic endeavour: Capturing the Indigenous past to understand the Indigenous present
    • ATS3543 Australia's ancient Indigenous past: A 65,000 year archaeological odyssey
  4. Four units (24 points) from the remaining cornerstone or capstone units or the elective list below with at least two units at level 3.

Minor requirements (24 points)

No more than 12 points at level 1 may be credited towards the minorminor (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/2019handbooks/undergrad/arts-07.html).

Students complete:

  1. Two level 1 gateway unitsgateway units (http://www.monash.edu.au/pubs/2019handbooks/undergrad/arts-08.html) (12 points):
    • ATS1250 Social justice and Indigenous Australians
    • ATS1254 Culture, power and difference: Indigeneity and Australian identity
  2. Two level 2 or 3 units (12 points) as listed within the major including cornerstones, capstones and electives. It is highly recommended that students complete a level 2 unit before enrolling in level 3 unit.

Elective list

Units are 6 points unless otherwise stated.

  • ATS2019Not offered in 2019 Beyond 'primitive' art: Understanding meaning and symbolism in Indigenous art
  • ATS2020Not offered in 2019/ATS3020Not offered in 2019 Colonialism in comparison: Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific
  • ATS2277 Artefacts, objects and remains: Making sense of archaeological sites
  • ATS2323Not offered in 2019 Media anthropology: Power, culture and representation
  • ATS2354Not offered in 2019/ATS3354Not offered in 2019 Interrogating racism: Indigenous Australians and the state
  • ATS2359/ATS3359 Hearing the country: Studies in Indigenous Australian ethnoecology
  • ATS2551Not offered in 2019 Writing resistance: Understanding the power of Indigenous story-telling through literature
  • ATS2553 Indigenous justice in Australia
  • ATS2757Not offered in 2019 Towards decolonisation: the United Nations, rights and Indigenous people
  • ATS3129 Arts internship (12 points)
  • ATS3328Not offered in 2019 The archaeology of world rock art
  • ATS3634 Indigenous peoples globally
  • ATS3677Not offered in 2019 Indigenous languages of Australia
  • ATS3852 Contemporary issues in social science research
  • ATS3935 Professional practice

Domestic field trips

  • ATS3544 On a dig: Practical archaeology in the field

Intending honours students

Students intending to enter honours in this area of study must have completed a major in the discipline, with a minimum of 24 points of study at level 3 to be eligible.

Relevant courses


  • A0502 Diploma of Liberal Arts


Single degrees

Successful completion of the minor or major can be counted towards meeting the requirements for the following single degree:*

Students in other single bachelor's degrees may be eligible to complete the minor or major by using 24 or 48 points of their free electives.

Double degrees

Successful completion of the minor or major can be counted towards meeting the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts component in the following double degrees:*

  • A2004 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music
  • A2005 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Art
  • B2019 Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Arts
  • B2020 Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts
  • B2038 Bachelor of International Business and Bachelor of Arts
  • B2039 Bachelor of Marketing and Bachelor of Arts
  • B2046 Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Arts
  • C2002 Bachelor of Information Technology and Bachelor of Arts
  • D3002 Bachelor of Education (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts
  • E3002 Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts
  • L3003 Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts
  • S2006 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts

* Students cannot complete both the minor and major in the same area of study.