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ISE1002 Comparative and Contemporary Indigenous Cultures

Semester 2, 2021 Toowoomba On-campus
Short Description: Cmprtve & Cntmpry Indig Cultre
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Coll for Indigenous Studies, Education & Research
School or Department : Coll for Indigenous Studies, Education & Research
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 1
ASCED code : 090311 - Indigenous Studies
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Melanie Waters

Other Requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


Issues around contemporary Australian First Nations cultures continue to be mired in racist representations of inadequacy. There are also commonalities of experience in other colonised cultures where the coloniser did not leave, and whilst we remain unaware of these it is too easy to lay the blame of contemporary realities on a failure of culture, rather than perfectly executed and planned results of colonisation. This course introduces and engages students with contemporary Indigenous Australian politics, societies and issues in the comparative context of other settler colonial societies. It compares the accounts of First Nations peoples' experience across Pacific nations and Continental America (including Canada and South America).


This course will begin with an introduction to a broad range of issues of relevance to contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. This will be layered against a weekly analysis of other First Nations cultures and their experiences. Through an analysis of academic texts, songs, written stories and video representations an understanding will be gained about international First Nations cultures and how such knowledge theoretically impacts on analysis of Australasian First Nations cultures.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Evaluate the relationship between history, policy and contemporary notions of disadvantage in an Indigenous Australian context and First Nations context globally.
  2. Critically reflect on the complex political processes that produce dispossession across the world.
  3. Explain the changes in the way we communicate (social media, internet, and accessible stories) and how technologies impact on First Nations peoples.
  4. Recognise, analyse and compare First Nations peoples' experience from around the world.
  5. Examine concepts of sovereignty, power and agency.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Contemporary Australian realities 20.00
2. Indigenous peoples and ideologies of the nation state. 20.00
3. The Americas excluding Hawaii 20.00
4. Pacifica experiences 20.00
5. What does this all mean? 20.00

Text and Materials

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. (

Beckett, J 2014, Encounters with indigeneity: writing about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.
(Available online at the USQ Library.)
Behrendt, L, Lindberg, T, Miller, R & Ruru, J 2010, Discovering indigenous lands: the doctrine of discovery in the English colonies, Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.
(Available online at the USQ Library.)
Coates, K 2004, A global history of indigenous peoples: struggle and survival, Palgrave Macmillan, UK.
(Available online at the USQ Library.)
Miller, R., Ruru, J., Behrendt, L. and Lindberg, T 2010, Discovering Indigenous Lands, the doctrine of discovery in the English colonies, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
(Available online at the USQ Library.)
Watt-Coulter, S 2015, The right to be cold, Allen Lane Publisher.

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.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Recognition, Rights and Reform: Report to Government on Native Title Social Justice Measures (1995) reproduced in (1996) Australian Indigenous Law Reporter 27, 1996, 'Recognition, rights and reform: report to government on native title social justice measures', Alternative Law Journal, vol. Australian Indigenous Law Reporter 27, 21/1, viewed 19 December 2016,
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner 1996, 'The perilous state of Indigenous languages in Australia', in , Social Justice Report, viewed 19 December 2016,
(Chapter 3.)
Sylvain, R 2002, '"Land, water and truth": san identity and global indigenism', American Anthropologist, vol. 104, no. 4, viewed 20 December 2016,
Timpson, A 2009, First people, first thoughts: the impact of indigenous thought in Canada, UBC Press, Vancouver, BC.
Wunder, JR 2007, 'Indigenous homelands and contested treaties: comparisons of Aborigines, Sammis, native Americans, First Nations and Euro-Nation state diplomatic negotiations since 1300', in Grimshaw P & McGregor R (eds), Collisions of cultures and identities: settlers and indigenous people, University of Melbourne Press, Melbourne.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Social Justice Report 2010 (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2011).
Action Plan for the International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures (2013-2022), UNESCO.

Student Workload Expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 105.00
Private Study 60.00

Assessment Details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 30 30 13 Aug 2021
ASSIGNMENT 2 30 30 17 Sep 2021
ASSIGNMENT 3 40 40 22 Oct 2021

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities 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.

  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 for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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 items for the course.

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

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Deferred and Supplementary examinations will be held in accordance with the Assessment Procedure

  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. Referencing in assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library's referencing guide. This guide can be found at

  2. ISE1002 supports student learning by using various pedagogy methods and appropriate course content. The use of good teaching approaches is designed to ensure students gain knowledge and skills in all Level 1 attributes, with particular focus on those identified in the skill assessment table and more broadly in the Assignment Matrix (above).

Other Requirements

  1. Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at

  2. 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 this 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 the same grades as those students who do possess them.

  3. Students shall adhere to non-racist language within classroom and assessment activities.

  4. Students need to regularly engage within the classroom or virtual classroom sessions and participate during the semester.

Date printed 8 November 2021