Indigenous People of the Contemporary World


Explores the contemporary socio-cultural, economic and political situation of indigenous peoples in the contemporary world. This course is divided into three complementary sections. Section 1 looks at definitions and parameters of "indigenous" peoples and their overlap with "ethnic minorities" and the concept of "fourth world nations". Section 2 describes the different types of indigenous peoples' struggles, for example struggles over land/marine rights, co-existence with settler/migrant communities, independence and nationhood, and reclamation of pre-colonial political boundaries and entities. Section 3 presents case studies from Australasia, South-east Asia and the Pacific.



  • Semester 2 - 2015

Learning Outcomes

1. An understanding of the different situations in which indigenous peoples coexist with other, non-indigenous peoples in various states and societies;

2. An understanding of the various international organisations, institutions, and legal mechanisms to advance the position of indigenous peoples in various countries;

3. An understanding of the different types of struggles which indigenous peoples are waging in the contemporary world;

4. An in-depth knowledge of indigenous people's struggles in Australia (Australia and Aotearoa/NZ), Southeast Asia and the Pacific.


The course includes readings on and discussions of the following topics, namely:

  1. Epic (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

10cps SOCA 1000 level courses or equivalent.

Assessment Items

Essay: Essay 1: Critical Analysis

Presentation: Tutorial Presentation

Essay: Essay 2: Indigenous Peoples of the Contemporary World

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term