• Class Number 6625
  • Term Code 3170
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Topic Indigenous Studies
  • Mode of Delivery In-Person and Online
    • Mary Spiers Williams
    • Dr Matthew Gray
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 06/09/2021
  • Class End Date 09/12/2021
  • Census Date 01/10/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 24/09/2021
    • Trish Tupou
SELT Survey Results

This course offers students the opportunity to complete intensive study in a topic relating to Indigenous peoples. The course content will vary from year to year following both changes in the discipline and the interests and expertise of teaching staff. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. describe concepts and arguments arising from the field of Indigenous Studies;
  2. evaluate those concepts and arguments to a level consistent with the expectations of the discipline; and
  3. explain issues, arguments, and responses through written and/or oral form.

Research-Led Teaching

Professor Matthew Gray is the Director of the Centre for Statistical Research Methods. He has has researched and taught extensively in relation to public policy, research methodologies and is widely consulted by government. He has particular expertise in work and family issues, labour economics, social capital and social inclusion, measuring wellbeing, the economic consequences of divorce, child support, and social and economic policy development. Formerly the Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, his research includes examining the impacts of state policy on First Nations Peoples in Australia and internationally.

Mary Spiers Williams is Sub Dean for Australian Indigenous Studies in the College of Arts and Social Science (CASS) and a lecturer in the ANU College of Law. She convenes the Australian Indigenous Studies Major, teaches numerous courses in Australian Indigenous Studies, and supports the CASS whole-of-curriculum initiative to advance all students' insights into First Peoples' knowledges and perspectives. She has been a researcher in criminology, criminal law and mental health forensic processes, and was Senior Policy Officer in the NSW Criminal Law Review Division Attorney General Bob Debus. Her research interests centre around impacts of State law on First Peoples in Australia and recognition of legal pluralism. She is a legal practitioner with experience in New South Wales and the Northern Territory of Australia.

Field Trips

While the Covid19 pandemic persists, there will be no curricular field trips or excursions. We encourage students to engage with local events in the Country you are in, and will let you know about some online experiences that become possible.

Examination Material or equipment

Students must have good access to the internet and a reliable computer to complete assessment tasks, including any take-home examination.

Required Resources

Students must be able to access the internet and have use of a computer to join access class materials, join classes and complete assessment tasks. Students must have a working camera turned on during workshops. All readings and materials will be accessible via links from the wattle site to library resources, including written, audio and visual materials.

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course: written comments, verbal comments, and whole-of-class feedback. Feedback may be given to students in groups or focus groups, through class representatives (where relevant), or directly to individuals.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

Special Topic Spring 2021 – ‘First Peoples and State policy, institutions and structures’

This course examines public (state) policy in Australia. Students will explore the history of British imperial/colonial and State policies and practices (or lack thereof) with respect to First Peoples here. Centring First Peoples’ knowledges, perspectives and experiences, students will critically engage with evidence and/or principles on which state policies have been based, and analyse state systems and structures, including public institutions and the nature of bureaucracy.

Students will critically reflect on the different and complex impacts of public policies on First Peoples through selected case studies. Students will learn about First Peoples’ experiences of consulting or lobbying with policy-makers, the experience of First Peoples working with and within state agencies, and the experiences of others who are excluded or otherwise alienated from policy-making processes. We will consider First Peoples’ diverse perspectives on the information and principles on which to base state policy-making and on the methodology of data-gathering, consultation, policy production and policy education.

We will compare social indicators (that is, the broad impacts) of First Peoples in Australia and New Zealand, and explore potential explanations that may lie in state policy principles and practices, including critiquing the selection and framing of social indicators. 

Students will be introduced to Indigenous perspectives on research and knowledge production, including decolonising research methodologies, Indigenous standpoint theory, critiques of ‘deficit discourse’ and reflexive/reflective practices.

Themes with which this course engages include: the ongoing impact of past policies, attitudes and ways of knowing; manifestations of colonialism is contemporary policy making and implementation; self-determination, sovereignty and related issues significant to First Peoples across Australia; critically engage with the production and representation of knowledge. 

> The prerequisite for this course are the standard prerequisite for 3000-level courses. We assume that students are familiar with tertiary processes, standards and course protocols, and can undertake student with a high degree of autonomy. Mature students, including those who have experience in public policy, may apply for an exemption to enrol in this course.

> No prior knowledge of Australian Indigenous Studies nor the study of Public Policy is assumed. (The prerequisite of having taken an 'INDG' course has been waived for this Special Topic).

> Flexible delivery: It is possible for students to take this course in person & online, online only, or wholly asynchronously (i.e. independently).

> This course has been approved as a course substitute for INDG3001 in: Sustainability Studies Major, and Sustainable Development minor (approved by Lorrae van Kerkoff), Development Studies (approved by Sverre Molland) in BARTS, and Australian Indigenous Studies Major; Australian Indigenous Studies Minor (approved by Mary Spiers Williams) for BARTS & other degree programmes; and in BPPOL (approved by Azad Sing Bali). Please apply to your programme/major/minor convener to substitute this course for INDG3001.

Please note: The class summary of activities is indicative and may change subject to guest lecturer availability.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Lecture: First People’s perspectives on state policy, institutions and structures: key concepts and themes of the course Daily written reflections, annotated bibliography entries
2 History of colonial and state policies regarding First Peoples in Australia: the past, its continuities and disruptions Daily written reflections, annotated bibliography entries of required reading
3 First Peoples' perspectives and other critical perspectives on research, policy-making, state institutions and structures Daily written reflections, annotated bibliography entries of required reading
4 Case studies in policy production and its implementation Daily written reflections, annotated bibliography entries of required reading
5 International comparison Daily written reflections, annotated bibliography entries of required reading
6 'What do we want to be to each other?' Fortnightly written reflections, annotated bibliography entries of independently researched reading, take-home examination, research essay proposal, research essay.

Tutorial Registration

Registration for workshops is via the Course wattle site. Registration opens one week before the commencement of classes.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Annotated Bibliography 20 % * 1, 3
Portfolio of daily reflections 10 % * 2
Take-home examination 5 % 20/09/2021 1, 3
Research essay proposal 25 % 27/09/2021 2, 3
Research essay 40 % 04/10/2021 1, 2, 3

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 20 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3

Annotated Bibliography

This task is designed to encourage students to develop good research habits and skills, thorough knowledge of course readings, develop ongoing insights, and support the students in the completion of the take home examination and research essay. The annotated bibliography (AB) is completed gradually throughout the intensive teaching period, and then weekly when the student is working independently on their research essay.

During the intensive teaching period, students submit daily one AB entry on one of the required readings (instructions on wattle). Due times are advised on wattle; these AB entries on these required readings must be completed before undertaking the take-home examination.

After classes are completed, students will submit weekly one AB entry on one of the articles that they have researched independently in preparing their research essay. These must all be submitted prior to submission of the final essay.

More details about the task, including due times, will be released on Wattle.

Late submission is not accepted, however students may apply for extensions and propose an alternate schedule of submission with conveners prior to the first task being due.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 2

Portfolio of daily reflections

The daily reflection provides students with an opportunity to develop skills in reflective writing and written expression. These tasks create a disciplined framework for regular review of class materials, to recognise the role of emotion and perspective in our learning experiences, and to facilitate students’ preparation for the other assessment tasks. This ongoing task support students, particularly as some material in this course can be uncomfortable and may be distressing. 

Students submit a daily reflection during the intensive teaching period, and then after the teaching period has finished, submit a reflection fortnightly.

More details about the task will be released on wattle, including due times.

Late submission is not accepted, however students may apply for extensions and propose an alternate schedule of submission with conveners prior to the first task being due.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 20/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3

Take-home examination

This task allows students to demonstrate knowledge of a breadth of topics and perspectives taught in the course and written expression. This task is an examination of the course's content delivered during the intensive teaching period (including the required readings).

Students will be given several days after the completion of classes to complete this examination.

More details about the task will be released on wattle, including when the take home examination opens and when it closes.

Late submission is not accepted, however students may apply for extensions and propose an alternate schedule of submission with conveners prior to the first task being due.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 27/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3

Research essay proposal

This task allows students an opportunity to develop autonomy and good research writing practices. Students will identifying an issue, develop and plan their research essay.

This task creates an opportunity for the student to receive constructive feedback prior to drafting their essay. More details about the task will be released on wattle.

Late submission is not accepted. Students may apply for extensions and propose an alternate schedule of submission with conveners prior to the first task being due.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 04/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Research essay

This task allows students an opportunity to deepen knowledge of an issue that you have selected, develop analytical skills through writing, and develop research skills. Students' essays must engage with content and perspectives taught in this course, allow examination of the course's themes and key concepts. More details about the task will be released on wattle.

Late submission is accepted up to ten days (in accordance with the CASS policy), however students may apply for extensions and propose an alternate schedule of submission with conveners prior to the first task being due.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with.

The Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission not permitted. If submission of assessment tasks without an extension after the due date is not permitted, a mark of 0 will be awarded.
  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assessment tasks are returned within three weeks of submission. The exception to this is the final assessment task which is returned with the final grade.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Mary Spiers Williams

Research Interests

First Peoples' social justice, Impacts of State laws on First Peoples, esp Criminal law and related legal and bureaucratic systems.

Mary Spiers Williams

By Appointment
Dr Matthew Gray

Research Interests

Dr Matthew Gray

Trish Tupou

Research Interests

Trish Tupou

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions