Aboriginal Political Histories

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Aboriginal Political Histories

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Australian Culture, History, Indigenous Studies, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Course Description
    This course discusses the strategies employed by Aboriginal activists to establish a political relationship between Australia's Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in the 20th century. By contextualising a few of the many individuals who have contributed towards social and political change we can acknowledge the active agency of Aboriginal people to promote their interests in local, national and international forums.

    Course Introduction
    Australia's political relationship with Aboriginal peoples reflects contrasting practices of racial exclusion to contemporary practices of participation and inclusion. In the production of these political changes Aboriginal people have not been silent partners. Rather, they have been active in initiating sites of contestation and negotiation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Drawing from ideas and attitudes prevalent of their times it can be said that the parameters of engagement and resistance have been determined by the nature of the political environments in which they operate. This course will use a biographical approach and draw from historical events to trace the development of Aboriginal politics in white Australia. From sporadic localised activism to a discernible movement this course will identify and discuss the aspirations, programs for change, methods of protest and the outcomes of Aboriginal thinkers and political leaders to develop a space for an Aboriginal presence in the relationship between mainstream political involvement and Aboriginal identity. The course will discuss this political relationship from 1788 to the present by contextualising a few of the many individuals who have contributed towards these developments.


    Course Aims
    This course aims to:

    • Broaden students' understanding of the social, political and historical contexts from which Aboriginal activism has emerged.
    • Provide students with knowledge of the strategies employed by Aboriginal activists to assert and formalise the recognition of Aboriginal identity in Australian social and political life.
    • Provide students with a competent and informed understanding of Aboriginal political history and its legacy in relation to contemporary Aboriginal issues.
    • Equip students with the necessary foundation to participate in the advanced Aboriginal courses offered in this field of study.


    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:

    1. Articulate a competent understanding of the history of Aboriginal activism prior to and throughout the 20th century.
    2. Develop an understanding of cultural positioning and its relationship to contemporary Aboriginal issues.
    3. Demonstrate an appreciation for an understanding of key Aboriginal thinkers in Australian history and their influence on contemporary Aboriginal activists.
    4. Evaluate the attitudes, values, opinions and beliefs that inform mainstream representations of Aboriginal identity and issues.
    5. Analyse and articulate the societal constructs, policies and practices that impact upon Aboriginal Australians.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.