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KNL1001 Indigenous Cultural Identity

Semester 1, 2013 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : Centre for Australian Indigenous Knowledges
Version produced : 21 July 2014

Contents on this page


Examiner: Renee Baynes
Moderator: Kaye Price


Culture is a principal basis of identity. Individually, within groups, nationally and internationally, identity governs social interaction. Understanding how identity is assigned is a vital part of relating to culture and social organization. Consequently an understanding of culture and society is essential in an examination of cultural identity. To understand contemporary cultural identities, we must examine the historical influences that moulded current realities of particular groups and specifically for Australia, of our two Indigenous cultural groups - Australian Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders. Both Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders developed differing cultures within their own groups. This course exposes the learner to parts of the histories of these peoples. Such knowledge contributes to an appreciation of Australia's Indigenous groups' identities with that of all communities and their relationships within multi-cultural Australia. The Australian identity begins with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures: beliefs, histories, languages and lifestyles. Knowledge of culture and society will lead to an understanding of the diversity, complexity and richness of cultures from pre-history to present. Based on archaeological evidence and oral histories, this course investigates the realities of traditional Indigenous identity before and after the European invasion of Australia. The British annexation of this continent, beginning in 1788 and continuing over a period of more than two centuries, led to the subjugation of unique Indigenous Australian identities, replacing them with an identity based on British/European cultures and social structures. Subsequent immigration and the diversification of cultural composition have led to a diminution of national, notional and group identities. It is important to examine how Australians perceive national and group identities. Such notions of identity will affect the intercultural relationships in Australia's future.


The content of this course explores concepts of Indigenous identity at a variety of levels: individual or personal identity, group identity, international perceptions of identity from indigenous and non-indigenous perspectives, an historical view of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies and identities, ideas of contemporary Australian identity, and a view to the future. During this course of study, learners will be introduced to: Cultural, social and environmental factors affecting personal and group identity, Events and concepts affecting notions of Australian identity, Indigenous social and cultural identities and how these have been affected by historical events, The effects of media and literature on development of views of Indigenous Australian identities, Possible futures in Australian notions of identity and inclusiveness.


On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

  1. display an understanding of the roots of their individual identity based on familial and social circumstances;
  2. discuss the impact of culture and social organisation on identity;
  3. display knowledge of identity among international indigenous and non-indigenous groups;
  4. demonstrate an appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Identity based on concepts of Creation, spirituality, law, kinship structures, language;
  5. discuss the maintenance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and identities since invasion, occupation, and subsequent government policies;
  6. relate the importance of literature, art, music and dance to the maintenance of cultural identity;
  7. debate the unique part which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have played in Australian society and history, and their role in the development of contemporary and future Australian identity.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Culture and Identity 20.00
2. Influences on Identity 20.00
3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Identities 20.00
4. Forming Identity 20.00
5. Impacts on Aboriginal Culture and Identities 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 1989, The making of the Aborigines, Allen and Unwin, Sydney.
  • Austin, J (ed) 2001, Culture and identity, Pearson Education Australia, Frenchs Forest, NSW.
  • Dudgeon, P, Oxenham, D & Grogan, G 1997, Learning identities and differences, Curtin Indigenous Research Centre, Perth.
  • Dunbar, R, Knight, C & Power, C (eds) 1999, The evolution of culture: an interdisciplinary view, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, NJ.
  • Hartley, J & McKee, A (eds) 1996, Telling both stories: indigenous Australians and the media, Arts Enterprise, Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, WA.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 40.00
Directed Study 36.00
Private Study 86.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
LITERATURE/MEDIA 30 30 19 Apr 2013

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility 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.