• 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

Precolonial Aboriginal cultures have long been seen as the social, economic and ecological prototype of the hunting and gathering way of life. The aim of this course is to convey a basic understanding of their customary or ‘traditional’ Aboriginal practices and beliefs as they were at the threshold of colonisation. Exploring these issues also means exploring the intellectual struggle Europeans have had to come to terms with Aboriginal societies and cultures, understanding why Aboriginal social and cultural practices captured the European imagination, and how they became so significant in European intellectual history and the production of European social theory.

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. Comprehend why Aboriginal societies and cultures have been so important in the history of European social theory;
  2. Discuss the diversity of Indigenous societies and cultures prior to colonisation;
  3. Describe the basic features of Indigenous economic, social and religious life and their interrelationship;
  4. Appreciate some fundamental concepts in anthropology and the debates around them; and
  5. Assess much of the public discourse around Aboriginal culture.

Indicative Assessment

Tutorial participation(15%) Learning out comes 1-4
Tutorial essay, 800 words (20%) Learning outcomes 3, 4
Essay, 2000 words (45%) Learning outcomes 2, 3, 4
Final exam, in class, 1 hour (20%) Learning outcomes 1-5

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.


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 workshop and workshop-like activities; and
b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 12 units of 1000 level courses, or with permission of the convener. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed ANTH6005.

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
2019 $3000
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $4560
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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9060 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person N/A

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