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Indigenous Cultures and Knowledges will introduce students to the diversity of Indigenous culture, epistemologies, practices and engagements with the contemporary world. It will also introduce students to the immense body of scholarship on traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies, cultures, languages, history and prehistory in curricula, research and knowledge exchange.
The subject will be presented as a series of Masterclasses given by specialists from across the University with expertise in language and culture, environmental science and land management, social and political theory, education, music and performing arts, cultural heritage, and public health and wellbeing. Each Masterclass will be structured to include one or more of:
- A presentation/seminar by a guest lecturer or Indigenous knowledge holder on a particular field of Indigenous knowledge, such as:
- Indigenous environmental knowledge, including environmental science, and habitat management
- Indigenous astronomical knowledge
- Indigenous engineering knowledge, practices and adaption of local environments developed for food production, resource management, dwelling and settlement, and economic purposes
- The anthropology of Indigenous rituals and symbolism
- Key concepts expressed in Indigenous languages, linguistic understandings of polysemy, and translation and interpretation into English
- Ethnomusicology and The Arts
- Landscape and Place-making
- Cultural heritage and its preservation.
- An object-based learning activity, which provides an opportunity for students to engage with the subject material to develop reflective, observational, practice and critical thinking skills
- A case study of community engagement
- Examples of Indigenous epistemology and practice
- A field trip to a site of significance to Indigenous peoples, and/or to an Indigenous community
- A framework for reflection on ethical and interdisciplinary challenges in Indigenous studies.
The philosophy and values underpinning this subject will foster:
- The development of respect for the Indigenous knowledges and cultural heritage
- Academic approaches to preserving, maintaining, and engaging with Indigenous knowledges and cultural heritage, such as digital and online databases and web portals
- An awareness of ways in which these perspectives can inform a broader, contemporary world.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject students should be able to demonstrate:
- An informed awareness and respect for the breadth and sophistication of Indigenous Knowledges, both traditionally and today
- Application of appropriate critical thinking skills and methodologies based on an understanding of Indigenous knowledges as exemplified by the examples given in the Masterclasses
- An understanding of the role of Indigenous knowledges in both Indigenous society and contemporary Australian society, such as the use of Indigenous medicinal and healing practices in present day clinical settings
- The ability to identify and engage with key aspects of Indigenous cultural heritage including landscape and movable cultural heritage
- The capacity to communicate an informed awareness, self-reflection and understanding of the ethical requirements of working in Indigenous studies across various disciplines
- An appreciation for interdisciplinary research and an understanding of some of the challenges this form of research presents.
At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:
- Finding and interpreting knowledge from multiple disciplinary perspectives
- Cultural awareness and reflexivity
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Persuasion and argument
- Oral communication
- Written communication.
Last updated: 31 January 2024