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ISE2003 Media Representations and First Nations People

Semester 1, 2021 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Media Rep & First Ntns People
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


Enrolment is not permitted in ISE2003 if ISE2001 has been previously completed.


Film and media representations continue to be key mediums through which societies gain knowledge and information. The pace at which knowledge and information is exchanged is a positive invention of the 21st century but there are also pitfalls. In the absence of having social relationships with Indigenous peoples these mediums play a key role in informing the wider society about Indigenous People, societies and issues. The accuracy and sources of knowledge about Indigenous Peoples and cultures through film and media is a contentious matter as representations of Indigenous People continue to rely on simple treatments of complex situations and old and new forms of stereotyping. This course seeks to breakdown the stereotypes, provide the counter- positions to misrepresentation and develop a deeper understanding of Indigenous issues.


The course takes an in depth look at how film and media portray Indigenous People, communities and cultures across Australia and globally. Through an analysis of mainstream texts, narratives and film and television critical analytical skills will be developed to encourage students to find a/ or multiple truths behind a story. Stories of success and celebration will be measured alongside stories of despair, neglect and menace. The impact of social media and the speed of global information exchange will be analysed against the rise of social movements. The changing dynamic in information exchange when individual and local communities control the way they are being represented will be analysed against the threat of big media collapse. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Netflix all change the way we give and receive information.


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

  1. differentiate between opinion pieces, editorials, and authentic reporting of facts
  2. evaluate the relationship between mainstream narratives in the media and First Nations representations of self
  3. understand the relationship between historical portrayals of First Nations people in film and television, portrayals of the ‘other’ and their impacts today
  4. understand the power of the positive, the impact of social media and the changing landscape of news reporting, representation and exposure
  5. investigate and analyse racist attitudes and stereotypes and their function
  6. apply knowledge to critically analyse texts and provide positive representation.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Opinion vs journalism learning the critical skills to know the difference 20.00
2. Crime and criminality: Radio stations- talk back, ideologies of fear and sensationalism 20.00
3. Indigenous led representations - Maori media, NITV and the rise of social media in Indigenous communities 20.00
4. Critical analysis of headlines, hype and hyperbole 20.00
5. Historical representations and their impact today. 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.
Hall, S 1989, 'Cultural identity and cinematic representation', The Journal of Cinema and Media, vol. 1, no. 36, pp. 68-81.
Hall, S 2013, Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices, 2nd edn, Sage, London.
Langton, M 1993, "Well, I heard it on the radio and I saw it on the television... " : an essay for the Australian Film Commission on the politics and aesthetics of filmmaking by and about Aboriginal people and things, Australian Film Commission, North Sydney.
Langton, M 1994, 'Aboriginal art and film: the politics of representation', Race & Class, vol. 35, (4), 89-106,
Santoro, M 2013, 'The Rise of First Nations’ Fiction Films: Shelley Niro, Jeff Barnaby, and Yves Sioui Durand', American Review of Canadian Studies, vol. 43, 2, 267-282,

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 50.00
Lectures 15.00
Private Study 85.00
Tutorials 15.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 25 25 23 Mar 2021
ASSIGNMENT 2 25 25 14 May 2021
ASSIGNMENT 3 50 50 02 Jun 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:
    There is no examination 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. Referencing in assignments must comply with the APA referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The APA style to be used is defined by the USQ library's referencing guide. This guide can be found at

Date printed 18 June 2021