Introduction to Indigenous History (HIST20088)
Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5Dual-Delivery (Parkville)
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Semester 2 - Dual-Delivery
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In 1968 Australian Anthropologist WEH Stanner pinpointed a profound silence about the relationship between settler Australians and Aboriginal people. He argued settler Australian people unconsciously refused to discuss with Aboriginal people historical matters of their history, their possession and dispossession of Country. The legacies of this silence and dispossession have been profound. Since Stanner’s famous call to awaken Aboriginal history in Australia, much work has been done to create new foundations of Aboriginal history which continue to emerge . These histories often cross disciplinary boundaries of the academy including history, anthropology, geography, philosophy, science and more. As historian Bain Attwood has commented, in Australia the telling of Aboriginal history clashes with political agendas and with people. The legitimacy of Australia’s nationhood is often embroiled in Indigenous historiographical debate, and depending on whose experience of history is heard, different stories emerge.
During weekly lectures students will discover Charles Perkins' oral history narrative recorded by historian Dr Peter Read AM for the writing of his book entitled, Charles Perkins: a biography. Students will be introduced to oral history methodology, the ethics, politics and historiography of Indigenous history making in Australia across deep time and in emerging spaces as they complete further readings throughout this subject, in conversation with Perkins’ biography. Key moments of Perkin’s life will be explored such as his legacy of the Freedom Ride and associated narratives including for example, segregation, assimilation and discrimination, land rights, Aboriginal identity and belonging, Indigenous political voice, self-determination and more.
During tutorial sessions students will be asked to think critically and to engage in discussion of Indigenous historical narratives using multiple source material and oral history archival material.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Identify and explore Indigenous ways of knowing and history making in Australia
- Investigate key theoretical and political debate connected to the rise of Aboriginal history in Australia
- Investigate key theoretical and political debated connected to oral history methodology as a methodological discipline in history
- Identify, analyse and critically interpret oral history narratives and other sources across time that provide insight into Aboriginal history making
- Demonstrate skills of critical thinking and clear communication through class discussions and the preparation of written work for assessment.
- display critical and analytical skills
- be open to new ideas and perspectives
- communicate effectively
- manage time well
Last updated: 18 March 2023