• Offered by ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Australian Studies, Development Studies, Australian Indigenous Studies, Asia Pacific Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

Over the last forty years, a global discourse of indigeneity and indigenous peoples has emerged, originating and diffusing in the 1980s and onwards from particular nation-states. This internationalist concept of indigeneity had been centered in the United Nations, and enshrined in documents of other multilateral organisations (the World Bank, International Labor Organisation). Peoples now often regarded as `indigenous’ have long existed – but this category is relatively recent, as are many developments associated with it.
Like other such global discourses (e.g. `nationalism’), how indigeneity is understood varies across particular contexts. Its global dissemination makes such variability inevitable, and the question of how it intersects with particular socio-economic-political conjunctures, essential. Generally speaking, indigenous-settler dynamics (such as are found in Australia, North America, New Zealand, and parts of Latin America) have been, in some respects, most receptive of the collective, internationally-authored, `indigenous’ socio-political identity. For example, Australia as a state accepts the notion that it is home to `indigenous’ people. The recent concept of indigeneity has been seen as more ambiguous, unsettling, or downright threatening, hence less acceptable, in many Asian, East and South Asian, as well as African countries. This course will examine the intersections of international concept and national circumstances, both conceptually and by case studies.
This course will look at questions of the emergence of an internationalist global category from two principal directions underpinned by readings from anthropological theorists on: the reification of cultural constructs, capitalist constructions of meaning, and the exercise of powers of recognition and legitimation, the changing role of nation-states globally (Bourdieu, Foucault, Wolf); and more political-economically situated ideas concerning the current global conjuncture, how and why this particular kind of internationalist category has emerged and its intersection with what Kalb (2009) calls `“critical junctions” that link global process via particular national arenas and local histories, often hidden, to emergent and situated events and narratives…’

Students will work through a number of case studies of indigenous peoples and settings; and discuss what has happened in various cases, the extent to which the category `indigenous’ has been mobilized concerning and by particular groups, and consider what the future of this category of `indigeneity’ may be.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Discuss the history of events and factors in the emergence of examples of international and national indigenous movements and activisms.
  2. Understand the relation of this emergence to theory and practice both in development and anthropology.
  3. Draw upon major theoretical debates in anthropology in terms of which this emergence has been understood, and to interpret and evaluate these theoretical approaches.
  4. Interpret and evaluate approaches written specifically from indigenous perspectives. Identify, locate and evaluate primary sources relating to a particular instance of state practice/process, or issues arising around it.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial group presentation, 10 -15 min (10%) (LO's 1, 2, 4, 5)
Journal entries, 3 x 250 words (5% each for a total 15%) (LO's 3, 4, 5)
Research paper topic proposal and initial annotated bibliography (35%) (LO's 1, 2, 6) 1500 words including bibliographic annotations
Final term paper 40% (LO's 3-6) 2500 words (excluding references)

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from: a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials; and b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 6 units of 2000 level Anthropology (ANTH) courses or with permission of the convenor.

Prescribed Texts

Sissons, Jeff 2005. First Peoples: Indigenous Cultures and their Futures.  Reaktion Books.

Preliminary Reading

Broome, Richard 2001 Aboriginal Australians: Black Responses to White Dominance, 1788-2001. 3rd ed. Sydney: Allen and Unwin.
Harvey, Neil 1998. The Chiapas Rebellion: The Struggle for Land and Democracy. Durham, NC: Duke UP.
Niezen, Ronald 2003. The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity. Los Angeles: University of California.  
Maaka Roger and Anderson Chris 2006 (eds). Indigenous Experience: Global Perspectives. Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press.
Garoutte, Eva Marie 2003. Real Indians: Identity and the Survival of Native America. Berkeley: California UP.
Warren, Jonathan W. 2001. Antiracism: Indian Resurgence in Brazil. Durham, NC: Duke UP.




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
2017 $2856
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4080
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9491 24 Jul 2017 31 Jul 2017 31 Aug 2017 27 Oct 2017 In Person N/A

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