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Semester 1 - Dual-Delivery
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Indigenous cultures of the world have long developed complex knowledge systems focused on the Sun, Moon, and stars. Elders teach that "everything on the land is reflected in the sky", with the stars serving as a map, calendar, timepiece, and mnemonic memory aide that inform Law and social structure. These knowledge systems are wholistic and multi-layered, including cultural understandings of science and applications of scientific practice that have been passed down through oral tradition for millennia. This subject will introduce students to the discipline of Cultural Astronomy, focusing on the astronomical knowledge and traditions of contemporary Indigenous cultures around the world, with an emphasis on Australia.
Central questions will be: How are cultural understandings of science applied and developed by First Peoples? What do observations of astronomical phenomena such as variable stars, eclipses, planetary motions, and meteorite impacts tell us about the pre-Western origins of scientific observations and practice? What are some of the ways complex systems of knowledge are passed to successive generations? How can we apply emerging methodologies in cultural astronomy to reconstruct Indigenous Astronomical Knowledge that was fragmented due to colonisation in a collaborative and ethical manner? How can truth-telling about Indigenous people and their Knowledge Systems change negative perceptions in modern society? What are ways that Indigenous Astronomical Knowledge be protected as living heritage?
The subject provides students from all disciplines with an opportunity to apply this knowledge to their areas of study, facilitating critical and original thinking and hands-on education through tutorial-based activities, critical reflection, and investigation.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- demonstrate an understanding of cultural astronomy with respect to Indigenous Knowledge.
- understand the theoretical contexts of an issue of concern in cultural astronomy.
- understand the purpose of interdisciplinary research methodologies in cultural astronomy.
Upon successful completion of this subject, students would be expected to have the following generic skills:
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills developed through reflection, case studies, activities and application,
- Research and analysis skills developed through preparation of exercises and assessments,
- Verbal and written communication skills, developed through discussion, tutorial activities, and assessment, and
- Promote inclusive and transdisciplinary scientific and social research.
Last updated: 7 April 2022