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'.

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Further unit of study information


1x2-hr lecture/week, 1x1-hr tutorial/week


2000wd essay (35%) and 2x250wd assignments (20%) and 2hr exam (35%) and tutorial participation (10%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

12 Junior credit points from Anthropology

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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.

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