Available in 2022
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


This course explores the contemporary social, cultural, economic and political situations of Indigenous peoples across the world. Students are introduced to definitions and parameters of 'Indigenous' peoples and their overlap with 'ethnic minorities' and the concept of 'fourth world nations'. Throughout the course, students will engage with case studies that illustrate Indigenous peoples' struggles, including battles over land/marine rights, co-existence with settler/migrant communities, independence and nationhood, and reclamation of pre-colonial political boundaries and entities. The course offers an anthropological exploration of indigeneity and ethnicity, and students are introduced to post-colonial and de-colonial theory. By investigating examples of 21st century land use struggles (e.g. Standing Rock, Adani Carmichael Mine, the Brazilian ‘war of survival’), it places distinct emphasis on how contemporary challenges facing Indigenous peoples continue to relate to questions of land and land use.



  • Semester 1 - 2022

Learning outcomes

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

1. Understand the different situations in which Indigenous peoples coexist with other, non-indigenous peoples in various states and societies.

2. Recognise the various international organisations, institutions, and legal mechanisms to advance the position of Indigenous peoples in various countries.

3. Articulate, in written and verbal forms, informed positions on different types of struggles that indigenous peoples are waging in the contemporary world.

4. Communicate research objectives and outcomes to a wide audience.

5. Apply constructive feedback and review in peer contexts.


Course content includes the following major topics:

  1. Etic (outsider) and emic (insider) definitions of Indigenous peoples.
  2. Indigenous peoples in minority and majority situations.
  3. International organisations, agencies, and laws dealing with Indigenous peoples.
  4. Struggles for custodianship and legal rights over natural resources, sovereignty, and nation-hood

Assumed knowledge

10 units of SOCA 1000 level courses or equivalent.

Assessment items

Presentation: Oral assessment (video) (20%)

Professional Task: Campaign: media release, newsletter and strategy (40%)

Essay: Essay (40%)

Contact hours



Online 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.