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KNL3001 Indigenous Australian Cultures and Communities

Semester 1, 2012 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : Centre for Australian Indigenous Knowledges

Contents on this page


Examiner: Bill McCann
Moderator: John Williams-Mozley


Understanding Indigenous Australian social issues involves understanding of the cultures of Australia's Indigenous societies and their relationship with the wider Australian community. Australia has two separate peoples who can claim Indigenous status. Aboriginal Australian and Torres Strait Islander Australian groups are composed of disparate socio-cultural entities. All Australians should have an understanding and appreciation of Indigenous Australian cultures and societies because their uniqueness and complexity provides an opportunity for the development and consolidation of an understanding and appreciation of all peoples, their cultures and societies. Through a study of Indigenous Australian cultures and societies, attitudes can be challenged and a foundation set to address issues of cultural arrogance (i.e. belief in the superiority of one's own culture), ethnocentrism and ignorance facilitating progression towards mutual understanding and respect for others' cultures and societies. To achieve a balanced approach in interacting with Indigenous groups and individuals, this course investigates aspects of Indigenous cultures and societies.


The central core of the course is the presentation of Indigenous Australian perspectives and viewpoints to correct the imbalance in knowledge and understanding of Australia's history which has predominated since invasion. Consideration is given to the concepts of culture, society and group and individual identity. The course investigates aspects of Indigenous Australian cultures including, kinship, languages and land affiliation. The emphasis is placed on having an understanding and appreciation of Indigenous Australian attitudes. The content and structure of this course will emphasize the need for a sound theoretical and philosophical understanding of cultural interaction and difference in community and relationship connections, confronting stereotypes that have been constructed around Australia's Indigenous populations, and reconstructing those images on a basis of knowledge and understanding of, and empathy towards, those people who are the original inhabitants of this country. Throughout the course, four major constructs will be explored: (i) contested views of historic and contemporary Indigenous Australian cultures, societies and identities; (ii) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contemporary social, political and economic situations; (iii) policies and practices in relation to social issues for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander peoples; (iv) identifying strategies for reducing social disadvantage


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an appreciation of Australia's inclusive history, and of past and contemporary policies and practices relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  2. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity, cultures and societies;
  3. demonstrate awareness and appreciation of the socio-cultural, political and economic position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in contemporary society;
  4. demonstrate respect for and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's lifestyles and attitudes;
  5. identify avenues to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's access and participation in society at all levels, without denying their heritage;
  6. identify strategies for advancing the involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (e.g. knowledge providers, health workers) in community situations;
  7. demonstrate academic and professional literacy required for disciplinary/professional practice: e.g. information literacy, technical or computer literacy, numeracy, language literacy and critical literacy (application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation);
  8. demonstrate capacity for written and oral communication graduates are required to use as
    part of their professional practice, including appropriate distance communication that is mediated by different technologies;
  9. develope cultural literacy in local, national & international contexts demonstrating the capacity to work with diverse groups, cultures and individuals and to value diversity.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Race, Culture, Identity - Race as a construct; Culture as a meaningful concept; Indigenous Australian identity and Australian identity society 15.00
2. Australian History - Whose history? A brief, inclusive Australian history; Dispelling the myths; The role of Indigenous Australians in the pre- and post- colonial eras, 25.00
3. Indigenous Australian Cultures - The diversity of cultures among both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians; Traditional and contemporary Indigenous societies and cultures 20.00
4. Indigenous Australians Today - The diverse situations of Indigenous Australians in contemporary Australia; Responding to continuing impacts of colonisation; Understanding and coping with cultural difference and disadvantage 20.00
5. Indigenous Australian Communities And Future Trends - looking at advancing the position of Indigenous Australians in all areas of Australian society 20.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Attwood, B 2005, Telling the truth about Aboriginal history, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW.
  • Behrendt, L 2003, Achieving social justice, Federation Press, Annandale.
  • Behrendt, L 2003, Achieving social justice, Federation Press, Annandale.
  • Berndt, RM & Berndt, CH 1999, The world of the first Australians; Aboriginal traditional life: past and present, 5th edn, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.
  • Broome, R 2010, Aboriginal Australians: a history since 1788, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 60.00
Directed Study 40.00
Private Study 65.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
APPRAISAL ESSAY 30 30 30 Mar 2012
REPORT ON GROUP/ORG 40 40 11 May 2012
REFLECTIVE ESSAY 30 30 08 Jun 2012

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students? responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.