The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


""The idea of contested stories and multiple discourses about the past, by different communities, is closely linked to the politics of everyday contemporary indigenous life. It is very much the fabric of communities that value oral ways of knowing. These contested accounts are stored within genealogies, within the landscape, within weavings and carvings, even within the personal names that people carried. The means by which these histories were stored was through their systems of knowledge.""

(Tuhiwai Smith, L. 1999, p.33).

This course has been designed to provide the foundation to knowledge within the course work masters. The issues are relevant to the current debates within the contemporary Aboriginal and non Aboriginal communities. The final weeks of the course will entail students looking at their local Aboriginal communities, in particular their response to government policies, media coverage and successful community projects.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Develop an understanding of Aboriginal knowledges/world views in particular those knowledges of the local area

2. Develop an understanding of Aboriginal perspectives within current social debates

3. Critically analyse policies that have impacted on Aboriginal cultural heritage

4. Develop an understanding on the processes used by Aboriginal people to negotiate appropriate futures.

5. Develop an understanding on the importance of the Aboriginal voice within the academic context


  • Understanding Indigenous concept of 'country'
  • The importance of the traditional model for the implementation of contemporary policies
  • Why no sovereignty? Entering the debate.
  • Background to policy development. Why is history sometimes important?
  • Breaking the UN definition of genocide. The stolen generations and beyond.
  • Indigenous resistance and the influence of the media in driving public opinion.
  • Native Title. Just who does it serve?
  • Whose Culture is this anyway? The issue of cultural property rights in relation to the local area.
  • Royal Commission Into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Twelve years has been a long time!
  • Newcastle and the Hunter Aboriginal communities. Highlighting the successes.

Assumed knowledge

Understanding of traditional Aboriginal Society

Assessment items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Collaborative Talking Circle

Written Assignment: Special Study (1500 words)

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Study

Contact hours


Integrated Learning Session

Online 3 hour(s) per Week for Full Term