• Offered by School of Archaeology and Anthropology
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Anthropology
  • Areas of interest Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Development Studies, Australian Indigenous Studies, Asia Pacific Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person

Peoples now regarded as `Indigenous’ have existed since time immemorial but the category itself has a relatively short history. This course examines the category from a number of angles, starting with its emergence during the 1980s, when the concept of Indigeneity was first raised in the United Nations. Students will draw out the assumptions and challenges of collective, internationally-authored, `Indigenous’ socio-political identities by engaging with global discourses about and by Indigenous peoples and well as with their politico-legal contexts. Particular attention will be paid to the role of settler-colonies in the presence of formulations of Indigeneity, and the ambiguities of the concept in many Asian, East and South Asian, as well as African countries. The course will explore the complexities of and issues with the idea of Indigeneity in different parts of the globe – its acceptance, rejection, or embrace – drawing on ethnographic literature from acros the planet. 


The course enhances students’ understandings of the dynamics of Indigeneity at the current global conjuncture, and Indigeneity’s intersection with local histories, events, and narratives. It engages with First Nations scholarship from across the globe and considers the development of Indigenous research methodologies and approaches. The course asks how this global scholarship informs localised approaches to a range of issues, including issues of boundaries, Indigenous diasporas, Indigenous ecological knowledge and conservation, the rise of recognition of Indigenous knowledges in new domains, and Indigenous storytelling in the arts and other media. 


Through engaging with texts by Indigenous authors, the course then moves towards engaging with the topics of decolonisation, decolonising methodologies, and Indigenous views of the futurity of (the concept of) Indigeneity. Students will work through a number of case studies and discuss what has happened in various cases, the extent to which the category `Indigenous’ is mobilised by particular groups, consider what the future of this category of `Indigeneity’ may be, and the roles Indigeneity may play in planetary futures.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, 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 in anthropology;
  3. draw upon major theoretical debates in anthropology in terms of which the emergence and futurity of Indigeneity as a concept can be understood; and
  4. respectfully engage with approaches written specifically from Indigenous perspectives.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Weekly participation and contribution to seminar (10) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Seminar presentation (with written submission, 1,000 words) (30) [LO 1,3,4]
  3. Structured annotated bibliography entries (10 x 250 words each, 2,500 words) (30) [LO 2,3]
  4. Research Essay (3,500 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4]

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) 24 hours of contact with supervisor over 12 weeks; and

b) 106 hours of independent student research, reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

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

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.

Assumed Knowledge



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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2024 $4080
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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