Indigenous Studies

About the major

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, art history, literature, linguistics, film, musicology, anthropology, sociology 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 and cultural 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.

Requirements for completion

A major in Indigenous Studies requires 48 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core unit
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level core unit
(v) 12 credit points of 3000-level selective units
(vi) 6 credit points of 3000-level Interdisciplinary Project unit

A minor in in Indigenous Studies requires 36 credit points from the Unit of Study table including:
(i) 12 credit points of 1000-level units
(ii) 6 credit points of 2000-level core unit
(iii) 6 credit points of 2000-level selective units
(iv) 6 credit points of 3000-level core unit
(v) 6 credit points of 3000-level selective units

First year

Guided by the rubric of Cultural Wellbeing, Cultural Integrity and Cultural Expression, the Indigenous Studies major and minor commence with two introductory units, INDG1001 Introduction to Indigenous Cultures and INDG1002 Introduction to Indigenous History.

In INDG1001 students learn about the Dreaming, cosmology and country, kinship and custodianship, songlines, language revitalization, Aboriginal astronomy, agriculture, aquaculture, and creative expression in art, literature, film and music.

In INDG1002 students focus on the history of Indigenous Australia since colonisation, and learn about important political and legal issues such as colonisation, dispossession, assimilation and the stolen generations, and the resurgence of Indigenous rights in twentieth century struggles for civil rights, land rights, self-determination and native title.

Second year

In second year of the Indigenous Studies major and minor, students strengthen and deepen their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous Australia by taking one core unit, INDG2001 Indigenous Land and Culture, and selective units from Art History, Anthropology, History, Linguistics and Latin American Studies.

In INDG2001 students explore the social, political, philosophical and cosmological significance of the connection between Land and Culture, and are introduced to more advanced methodological discourses that have emerged within the discipline of Indigenous Studies. Students are able to apply such learning in selective units that provide ample opportunity for a focus on emerging disciplinary interests, among others.

Third year

In third year of the Indigenous Studies major and minor, students further strengthen and deepen their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous Australia by taking one core unit, INDG3001 Indigenous Studies Methodologies, and selective units from Art History, English, Education, Racism, and Politics, and the Faculty Interdisciplinary project.

In INDG3001 students undertake an advanced study of key national and international methodological discourses within the discipline of Indigenous Studies.

Senior selective units provide opportunities for the advanced application of knowledge and skills within key disciplinary areas.

Contact and Further information

Indigenous Studies website: sydney.edu.au/arts/ism
School of Literature, Art and Media website: http://sydney.edu.au/arts/slam

Indigenous Studies Coordinator: Dr Lynette Riley
Phone: +61 2 9351 6995
Email:

Example pathways
Indigenous Studies Major
Year 1 Sem 1 INDG1001
Introduction to
Indigenous Culture
1000 level unit 1000 level unit 1000 level unit in
another major/minor
from Table A or S
Sem 2 INDG1002
Introduction to
Indigenous History
1000 level unit 1000 level unit 1000 level unit in
another major/minor
from Table A or S
Year 2 Sem 1 INDG2001
Indigenous Land
and Culture
2000 level unit 2000 level
unit/OLE
2000 level unit in
another major/minor
from Table A or S
Sem 2 One 2000 level
selective unit from
the Indigenous
Studies major table
2000 level unit 2000 level
unit/OLE

2000 level unit in
another major/minor
from Table A or S
Year 3 Sem 1 INDG3001
Indigenous Studies
Methodologies
One 3000 level
selective unit from
the Indigenous
Studies major table
3000 level unit
in another major
from Table A or S
2000/3000 level unit in
another major/minor
from Table A or S
Sem 2 One 3000 level
selective unit from
the Indigenous
Studies major table
Interdisciplinary
project unit
3000 level unit
in another major
from Table A or S
3000 level unit
in another major
from Table A or S
Learning outcomes
  1. Demonstrate an informed understanding of Australian and international Indigenous cultures, societies and history, and effectively apply their understanding when working with and for Indigenous peoples.
  2. Demonstrate an informed understanding of Indigenous cultural traditions, languages, and cosmologies, and their centrality to traditional and contemporary cultural integrity, cultural expression and cultural wellbeing.
  3. Demonstrate an informed understanding of Indigenous socioeconomic, legal and political history, the impact of colonisation on Indigenous societies, and the importance of decolonisation, self-determination and reconciliation.
  4. Apply skills to effectively analyse contextualised social situations and polices
    in relation to working with and for Indigenous Australians.
  5. Demonstrate an informed understanding of Indigenous community perspectives and engagement protocols, allowing greater confidence and capacity to work with and for Indigenous peoples.
  6. Apply their skills and knowledge across a wide range of national and international Indigenous-focused vocational and interprofessional settings.
  7. Apply disciplinary expertise in Indigenous Studies to practical questions encountered in an interdisciplinary context.