Indigenous Australian Studies



  Semester 1 - 2013 Semester 2 - 2013
  KOCR2600 Introduction to Indigenous Australia KOCR2600 Introduction to Indigenous Australia  
          KOCR2604 Politics of Identity, Gender and Knowledge KOCR2602 Issues in Indigenous Rights
  KOCR2603 Indigenous Health & Communities KOCR2610  Indigenous Community Development
  KOCR2605 Speaking Gamilaraay 1 KOCR2608 Speaking Gamilaraay 2
  KOCR2607 Indigenous Creative Expression KOCR2611 Issues in Indenous Histories
  KOCR2612 Introduction to Aboriginal Literature   KOCR3607  Re-awakening Australian Language
  KOCR3602 Race, Racism & Indigenous Australia  KOCR3612 Transnational Indigenous Poetics




Please note that some of these units of study are only offered bi-annuallly.

KOCR2600 Introduction to Indigenous Australia

Prerequisite: 18 junior credit points
Coordinator: Lynette Riley
This unit of study is the first stepping stone in the Indigenous Australian Studies (IAS) Major. Structured around three themes - representation and identity, invasion and colonisation, and resistance and agency - the unit critically examines the historical, social and political contexts of the survival and growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies and cultures. Students will gain a critical awareness of traditional and contemporary Indigenous Australia, and develop a decolonised critical framework which underpins the IAS major.

KOCR2601 Indigenous Land & Culture

Co-requisite: KOCR2600
Coordinator: Leah Lui-Chivizhe
This unit of study traces Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander relationships to country and place, and the continuities and dynamism of contemporary Indigenous Australian cultures. It will celebrate the fact that, despite the impact of colonisation, Indigenous Australian peoples have maintained unique identities and connections to land and sea. Through the themes of Indigenous Sydney, Connections to Place, and Cultural Continuity, this unit of study examines the role of Indigenous kinship and belief systems, art, language, performance, and film on the continued and vibrant connections between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and land and seascapes and the myriad of ways these connections or relationships are maintained and expressed.

KOCR2602 Issues in Indigenous Rights

Coordinator: Dr Karen O'Brien
This aim of this unit of study is to critically explore the philosophical, legal and cultural foundations of Indigenous rights in Australia and internationally. The unit builds generic skills in philosophical and historical research and theoretical analysis, encouraging students to develop an informed and independent assessment of contemporary issues in Australian and international Indigenous rights.

KOCR2603 Indigenous Health & Communities

Co-requisite: KOCR2600
Coordinator: Katrina Thorpe
This unit of study is the first of three units that form part of the Health and Wellbeing Stream of the Indigenous Studies Major. This unit aims to give an historical and contemporary understanding of the diverse range of issues impacting on Aboriginal Health. Students have the opportunity to examine sociological and Indigenous health frameworks and identify a range of strategies which work towards improving the health of Indigenous Australians. A highlight of this unit is the opportunity to hear from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who are passionate about contributing to such improvements. Students will also explore the ways in which they may work with Aboriginal people and communities to facilitate self-determination in Aboriginal health.

KOCR2604 Politics of Identity, Gender & Knowledge

Prerequisite: 18 junior credit points
Coordinator: Dr Karen O'Brien
This unit of study will provide students with grounding in contemporary theories of Indigenous identity and an understanding of current critical writings on identity formation in colonised societies. It will enable students to formulate strategies and methods for understanding and working with notions of identity in relation to Indigenous peoples. In this unit students explore the history and formation of Indigenous identity. Combining contemporary theoretical and historical approaches they will explore the ways in which Indigenous Australians were constructed by colonial discourses. Students explore the multi-layered facets of identity that are held in and on the Indigenous body and identify and critically analyse sites of power, Indigenous knowledges, processes of cultural dissemination and transmission and consider how Indigenous identities were racialised, gendered and subordinated. Students will explore the arena of cultural politics and investigate the ways in which Indigenous agency has manifested, for example, through innovative critical perspectives and through creative re-presentations in a variety of media, in film, documentary, photography and prose.

KOCR2605 Speaking Gamilaraay 1

Coordinator: John Giacon
Gamilaraay is an Indigenous Australian language from the mid-northwest of NSW that is currently undergoing revitalisation. This unit of study will provide students with a basic competence in speaking, understanding, reading and writing Gamilaraay sufficient to recognise and construct simple utterances in the language, and to understand its relationships with other languages. Classes will take the form of three-hour intensive oral workshops that progressively develop each student’s abilities in the language. Assessment will be by short written assignments based on lesson content and an appraisal of individual oral/aural performance together with a short essay on Gamilaraay culture or a related topic.

KOCR2607 Indigenous Creative Expression

Coordinator: Michelle Blanchard
This unit of study aims to give students the opportunity to critically engage with a variety of artistic and creative practices undertaken by Indigenous Australians. It's envisaged that students will be encouraged to critically examine and understand the role of Indigenous performance/theatre, writing, dance, film, visual arts and music in Indigenous Australian cultural maintenance.

KOCR2608 Speaking Gamilaraay 2

Prerequisite : KOCR2605
Coordinator: John Giacon
This unit builds on the language covered in Speaking Gamilaraay 1. After revision of that work it focuses on speaking Gamilaraay more fluently and using more complex language. It introduces further vocabulary and more grammatical features relating to pronouns, verbs and other aspects of language. There will also be some work on language texts and songs, and discussion of the nature of revival languages. Students will also be required to produce a language learning resource.

KOCR2610 Indigenous Community Development

Prerequisite : KOCR2603
Coordinator: Dr John Evans
This unit examines how community development approaches can influence health and wellbeing outcomes for Indigenous peoples. Students will examine past approaches, current trends and theories underpinning community development. Students will reflect on their role in working with Aboriginal communities to develop processes that build capacity in health delivery and support Indigenous self determination. This unit also considers the nature of ethical research practice within an Indigenous community setting.

KOCR2611 Issues in Indigenous Histories

Prerequisite : 12 credit points of junior History or KOCR2600 (waivered if taken as part of History major)
Coordinator: Dr Lorraine Towers
This unit explores the key issues and debates that have shaped the development of Indigenous History in Australia. You will examine how Indigenous responses to colonialism have been variously interpreted; explore Indigenous perspectives on the writing and representation of Indigenous History in historiography, documentary and feature film and literature; and examine the legacy of the past in the present. The unit also considers questions of historical evidence, the uses of evidence and the different ways of presenting history.

KOCR2612 Introduction to Aboriginal Literature

Prerequisite: 12 junior Arts credit points
Coordinator: Dr Peter Minter
This unit of study provides an introduction to the literature of Aboriginal Australia. It surveys a range of texts from the late eighteenth to the early twenty-first century, including early letters and chronicles, works of fiction, poetry and plays, and political manifestos and song-lyrics. These texts are read in the light of Aboriginal cultural and political life, the specificities of tradition, colonisation, resistance and survival, and Aboriginal interpolations of modernity, postmodernity and postcolonialism.

KOCR3602 Race, Racism & Indigenous Australia

Prerequisite: KOCR2600
Coordinator: Lynette Riley and Dr Lynda Blanchard
This unit explores theories of race and racism focussing on Indigenous Australian race relations. Opportunity is provided to understand the development of Racism as an impact on individuals – victim and perpetrator; and systemic systems at local, national and international levels. The unit explores what racism means in the social justice agenda through issues such as: equity and anti-racism; in particular the direct impact of racism as a tool in the creation of social and economic disadvantage in Australian Indigenous communities.
This unit aims to provide students with skills to examine theoretical concepts of race and racism and its impact on both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia. In analysing race and racism, students will consider theories of structural and cultural violence; and the ways in which racism is linked to poverty, justice and human rights; critical whiteness theory; and race representation. Through such analyses of race and racism – with particular location in Indigenous Australia – students will gain an understanding of visible and invisible racism and skills for unmasking racism as a process of constructive individual and social change.

KOCR3607 Reawakening Australian Language

Coordinator: John Hobson/ Susan Poetsch
Contact: or
Australia holds an unenviable record for its loss of Indigenous languages and actively pursues a de facto policy of English monolingualism. This unit examines how Indigenous communities are resisting this trend and reviving so-called extinct languages through examining the roles of language policy and planning, community activism, language centres, education, technology and the linguistic processes involved. Lecture and seminar content is supplemented by a fieldwork excursion (at additional cost) to a regional language centre and associated school programs.

KOCR3609 Indigenous Screen Culture

Prerequisite: 18 junior credit points
Coordinator: Michelle Blanchard
This unit of study will explore the cultural text of Indigenous Australian film. It will draw upon on knowledge situated within Indigenous content and contexts as they are presented on screen and interpreted. Students will critically examine the role of Indigenous film and conduct a comparative study of films with Indigenous stories by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous filmmakers, taking an analytical approach to reviewing cinematic language and meaning.

KOCR3612 Transnational Indigenous Poetics

Prerequisite: 12 senior credit points from Table A
Coordinator: Dr Peter Minter
This unit engages in a transnational study of Australian, Pacific, Asian and American Indigenous poetry and poetics. It surveys a range of key twentieth and twenty-first century Indigenous poets and their principal texts, reading them as exemplars of the encounter between Aboriginal cultural and poetic traditions and western modernity, postmodernity and the postcolonial. The unit explores the centrality of poetry to Indigenous cultures, its spiritual, social and political functions, and the distinctiveness of its contribution to a contemporary transnational poetics.

For more information please contact the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on 9351 6673 or

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