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This subject explores colonial ‘mythscapes’, the discursive realms in which myths of nation are forged, constantly negotiated and reconstructed. It applies new historicist approaches to selected key events in Aboriginal Australia’s colonial history. Students will be introduced to historical, archival and cultural materials, and will engage with multi-modal texts spanning art, film and literature, speaking to themes of national amnesia, memory and memorials. Key events will include: colonial narratives and Aboriginal and Settler contact/conflict, Ellen Draper’s Old Cobraboor and The Myall Creek Massacre of 1868, the Contested Grounds of history writing, Kate Grenville’s The Secret River and frontier stories; epic pastoral narratives, pioneer myths and the age of the cattle empires.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should have:
- the ability to apply historicist reading and research methods to the understanding of key events impacting on Aboriginal communities;
- an understanding of the intersection of archival, political and literary documentation in disclosing new perspectives on key historical events; and
- an appreciation of the importance of literary and other narratives in understanding key historical events.
At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:
- a developed understanding of relevant critical theories and methods and make informed decisions about their use and application in relation to Indigenous subject matter;
- the ability to work effectively as an individual and member of class in producing new learning outcomes;
- engagement in high-level use of a wide range of research applications and resources and make informed decisions in respect to their usage;
- the ability to engage in an informed and reasonable discussion of ideas and issues, including those involving sensitivities, that relate to Aboriginal and Settler communities; and
- the ability to produce high quality written material that encompasses the complexities and sensitivities of Australian Indigenous Studies.
Last updated: 9 September 2021