The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


Explores the contemporary socio-cultural, economic and political situation of indigenous peoples in the contemporary world. This course is divided into two 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. The course will place distinct emphasis how contemporary challenges facing indigenous people relate to questions of land and land use, with exploration of post-colonial and de-colonial theory, through examples of contemporary land use struggles (e.g. Standing Rock).

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 2 - 2020

Learning outcomes

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

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

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

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

4. Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of empirical examples of indigenous people's struggles across the globe.


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

10 units of SOCA 1000 level courses or equivalent.

Assessment items

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

Presentation: Oral assessment (20%)

Essay: Essay (40%)

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