• Offered by School of History
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject History
  • Areas of interest Cultural Studies, History, Australian Indigenous Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

This course will explore continuities and resilience among indigenous peoples in the Americas, Africa, Asia, the Pacific and in Europe, particularly in relation to the intrusions of colonisation. The survival of these peoples owes much to their agency in maintaining and creating alternative historical narratives, often resisting or negotiating broad concepts of indigeneity. This course explores converging literatures about global Aboriginal and Native histories since colonisation. The course examines the importance of language within historical narratives, assessing the ways in which these narratives generate conditions of survival. The topics covered will include concepts of identity within the process of colonisation and decolonisation, evolving government policies, ideas of sovereignty, treaties and other formal relationships between colonised and colonisers, the forms of post-colonialisms and world-wide movements for redemption, regeneration and reconciliation. Particular attention will be given to the relevant discourses about difference including an examination of the use and sensitivities of various group descriptors such as indigenous, native and aborigine.

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. Distinguish between key terms in Aboriginal and Native history;
  2. Compare and explain the significance of key changes in Aboriginal and Native histories using examples;
  3. Discuss their own research on topics from Aboriginal and Native histories in written and oral forms;
  4. Identify and discuss the uses of the past (in historiography, the process of colonisation and decolonisation, institutional representations, and media);
  5. Question familiar patterns of thinking about Aboriginal and Native peoples.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment Item 1: Written Research Report (LO 1,2,3,4 & 5)
Weight: 60%
Due: Weeks 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 & 9.
3000 words (6 X 500 words)

Assessment Item 2: Research Essay (LO 1,2,3,4 & 5)
Weight 40%
Due: exam period
2000 words

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
a) 42 hours of contact over 12 weeks consisting of 1 X 90 minute lecture per week and 1 X 2 hour seminar per week
b) 88 hours of independent research reading, and writing.

Preliminary Reading

Weekly readings will include primarily secondary sources made available on the course Wattle site. For example the reading for Week 4 will consist of:

  • Richard Broome, ‘Radical hope quashed’, in Richard Broome, Aboriginal Australians: A history since 1788 (4th ed.), Crows Nest: allen & Unwin, 2009, pp 81-99.
  • Glen Coulthard, ’Beyond Recognition: Indigenous Self-Determination as Prefigurative Practice.’ Leanne Simpson (ed.) Lighting the Eighth Fire: The Liberation, Resurgence, and Protection of Indigenous Nations. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring Press, 2008.
  • Jonathan Lear, ‘After this nothing happened: A peculiar vulnerability’ in Jonathan Lear, Radical hope: Ethics in the face of cultural devastation, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006, pp 1-52.
  • Peter Nabokov, ‘Old stories, new ways: Writing, power and Indian histories’, in Nabokov, A forest in time: American Indian ways of history, Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp 192-217.
  • Gregory Smoak, ‘Culture wars, Indianness, and the 1890 Ghost Dance’, Ghost dances and identity: Prophetic religion and American Indian ethnogenesis in the nineteenth century, London: University of California Press, 2006, pp 152-190.
  • Richard White, ‘The middle ground’, The middle ground: Indians, empires, and republics in the Great Lakes region, 1650-1815, Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, pp 50-93.



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
2020 $3120
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4800
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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