• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Australian Indigenous Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Nicolas Peterson
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

From the moment of Australia's discovery by Europeans the history, life and culture of Aboriginal people has been a subject of intellectual fascination. In the nineteenth century their social and cultural practices were widely believed to open up a window onto the origins of religion and European social institutions. More recently they have become a sociological, evolutionary and ecological prototype of the hunting and gathering way of life. This course will examine the details of traditional life, including subsistence economy, land ownership, social organisation, marriage arrangements, religion, magic, art and totemism and consider its impact on the European imagination and the production of social theory.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

By participating fully in this course you should expect the following outcomes:

  • An understanding of why Aboriginal societies and cultures have been so important in the history of European social theory
  • A knowledge of the diversity of Indigenous societies and cultures prior to colonisation
  • An understanding of the basic features of Indigenous economic, social and religious life and their interrelationship
  • An appreciation of some fundamental concepts in anthropology and the debates around them
  • An ability to assess much of the public discourse around Aboriginal culture
  • Insight into the nature of the human condition

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial assessment (15%), tutorial essay (25%) and 2000 word essay (60%).

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


2 hours of lectures and one hour of tutorial per week

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level courses. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ANTH6005. Alternatively you may gain permission of the Course Convener to enrol in this course.

Preliminary Reading

*Hart, C.W.M. and Pilling, A.R. The Tiwi of North Australia, Holt, 1965.
*Tonkinson, R. The Mardudjara Aborigines, Holt, 1978.
*Poirier, S. A. World of Relationships: Itineraries, Dreams, And Events in the Australian Western Desert, University of Toronto Press, 2005.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3259 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

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