Indigenous Studies Major and Minor

Indigenous Studies gives students an opportunity to develop a deep understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and knowledge systems, drawing upon the ideas and methods of disciplines including history, anthropology, sociology, literature, linguistics, film and health studies. It involves these disciplines in a critical dialogue with traditional and contemporary Indigenous people and cultures, and with social and political histories of colonisation and decolonisation.

The units offered reflect national and international trends in the discipline of Indigenous Studies, and articulate the many voices, perspectives and priorities of Indigenous peoples and communities. Students are given the opportunity to engage in analysis, discussion and debate around key issues that are of significance to Australian and international Indigenous peoples, such as language revitalisation, world-leading Indigenous film and literature, the ongoing efforts to improve Indigenous health outcomes and the broader pursuit of Indigenous self-determination and social justice.

Taught by Indigenous and non-Indigenous academic staff from across the University, and experts from the wider community, Indigenous Studies units are offered through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and are available to all students.

Structuring Your Study

Under the new degree requirements, which apply to students enrolling in 2018 (and to students who enrolled in 2017, if they wish to switch to the new curriculum) a Major in Indigenous Studies comprises two 1000-level Indigenous Studies units, two 2000-level Indigenous Studies units, and four 3000-level Indigenous Studies units. One of the 3000-level units must be an Interdisciplinary Project unit. A Minor in Indigenous Studies comprises two 1000-level Indigenous Studies units, two 2000-level Indigenous Studies units, and two 3000-level Indigenous Studies units. (An Interdisciplinary Project unit is not required for a Minor.)

Under the previous degree requirements, which apply to students enrolling in 2017 or earlier (except for students who enrolled in 2017 and who wish to switch to the new curriculum), a Major in Indigenous Studies requires at least six senior (i.e. 2000-level or 3000-level) Indigenous Studies units. At least one of these units must be at 3000-level.

Please see below for more detailed information relevant to you, depending on which of the three categories you fall under:

 I am continuing in my current degree I would like to move to the new curriculum
 

Your journey, your learning, start now…

Start your learning journey today with senior lecturer, Dr Lynette Riley (pictured middle left) who developed the Kinship online learning module. Your journey will take you into the richly complex Kinship system by learning about the components of Moiety, Totem, Skin Names, language and traditional affiliations and individual identity.

Dr Lynette Riley, Senior Lecturer, Indigenous Studies, sings in the House of Representatives, at Lin

Dr Lynette Riley, Senior Lecturer, Indigenous Studies, sings in the House of Representatives, at Linda Burney’s maiden speech, who is the first Indigenous woman elected to Parliament.

Linda Burney, member for Barton, delivers her emotional maiden speech at  Parliament House

Linda Burney, member for Barton, delivers her emotional maiden speech at Parliament House wearing her Kangaroo cloak made by friend and Senior Lecturer, Indigenous Studies, Dr Lynette Riley.


















Indigenous Studies gives you an unparalleled opportunity to learn from and about Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, the oldest living cultures on earth. You will also learn about global Indigenous cultures and how shared Indigenous knowledges, philosophies and traditions can help shape our future.

You will learn:

  • Contemporary and traditional Indigenous Australian cultures, cosmologies and societies.
  • The centrality of Indigenous cultural integrity, cultural wellbeing and cultural expression.
  • How and why contemporary Indigenous cultures continue to flourish despite the impacts of colonisation, dispossession and the trauma of assimilation.
  • The various phases and critical issues in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, politics and cultural development.
  • Connecting traditional and contemporary Indigenous knowledges and narratives to a range of key disciplinary issues.

You can choose to focus on:

  • Traditional and contemporary Indigenous Australia and the sustenance of cultural traditions;
  • The history of colonisation and its social, legal and environmental legacies;
  • The national and international resurgence of Indigenous cultures during the late twentieth century;
  • Language revitalisation and the importance of language in the sustenance of Aboriginal cultural wellbeing and integrity;
  • Aboriginal creative expression in art, literature, film, music and performance, and critical curatorial and market issues.

You will be taught by leading Indigenous and non-indigenous academics from across the university and the Indigenous community, and our curriculum is grounded by contemporary approaches to teaching and cutting-edge research.

Our lecturers are based in:

  • Law, Linguistics, English, History, Anthropology, Politics and the Social Sciences, Education, Art History, Music, Medicine and the Health Sciences.

They will encourage analysis, discussion and debate around contemporary issues while linking their learning with perspectives from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander thinkers and community leaders.

Our innovative and culturally grounded approach is committed to:

  • Indigenous political, economic and cultural integrity and advancement;
  • Indigenous community integrity, health and well-being;
  • Cultural and environmental sustainability in Indigenous country;
  • Cross-disciplinarily and engagement with Indigenous Studies nationally and internationally;
  • Faculty and cross-Faculty engagement that welcomes the perspectives, expertise and fellowship of non-Indigenous colleagues across the University;
  • Reconciliation and the enhancement of the cultural competence of students and staff across the University.