Indigenous Australians and Modernity (ANTH2630)


Australian Aboriginal peoples have always engaged with the 'modern world' but Enlightenment ideas established a colonial context juxtaposing modernity with tradition. Indigenous difference was locked into past-oriented, static and small-scale traditions. The unit examines some key concepts of modernity, including progress, civility, change, tradition - and modernity itself - so as to shed light on Australian Indigenous people's experiences, past and present, as colonial subjects. The unit will explore Aboriginal engagement with, for instance, work, vehicles, the law, and the arts (painting, music etc) as practices through which Aboriginal people have sought 'alternative modernities'.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


1x2hr lecture/week, 1x1hr tutorial/week


1x2000wd Essay (35%), 2x250wd Assignments (20%), 1x2hr exam (35%), Tutorial participation (10%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


12 Junior credit points from Anthropology

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.