Transnational Indigenous Literature

Griffith University

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Transnational Indigenous Literature

  • Host University

    Griffith University

  • Location

    Gold Coast, Australia

  • Area of Study

    Indigenous Studies, Literature

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    Assumed Background:
    This course requires an advanced understanding of literary traditions and critical reading. It is expected that students will have completed at least two Literary Studies subjects at the time of enrolment. Students who don’t meet these requirements should seek advice from the course convenor beforehand.

  • 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 crosses languages, cultures and continents. We jump from the deep past to the present, and back into recent colonial histories. We read short fiction, poetry, a verse novel and all kinds of things in between. Everything you thought you knew about literature - including what it is, why it is written, and who is writing it - will be unsettled, turned upside down, and left to grow much richer. In this course we will see how literary forms have been of vital importance for indigenous peoples not only as modes of aesthetic expression, but as potent forms of political resistance to colonial and neo-colonial powers. As we travel across Australia, the Americas and the Pacific, we will see how these literatures imagine the possibility of spaces that don't correspond to the lines on national maps.
    Course Introduction

    Transnational Indigenous Literatures will change everything you thought you knew about literature and Literary Studies. We will cross the vast Pacific Ocean in order to find connections between Aboriginal, Pacific Islander and Native American histories and their literatures. We will interrogate what it means to 'write', and how, where and when writing can take place. Paying attention to the local contexts of indigenous cultures, we will broaden our view to consider their places in an increasingly globalised understanding of ‘indigeneity’. Our texts will lead us to encounters with the international legacy of European colonialism, along with the flourishing of international indigenous publishing in the new millennium.

    This course will deal with the following questions:

    • What is ‘the transnational’, and why might different indigenous literatures be transnational?
    • How are indigenous literary (and cultural) traditions different from European traditions?
    • How do contemporary indigenous literatures relate to their traditions? Is it possible to separate contemporary literary modes such as poems and novels from more traditional art forms?
    • How do indigenous authors deal with the imposition of colonial languages?
    • How have indigenous literary forms contributed to discussions about indigenous sovereignty and self-determination in different national contexts?
    Course Aims
    Transnational Indigenous Literatures aims to:
    • Examine the current international context for indigenous literature in a variety of forms;
    • Investigate trends and issues in contemporary indigenous politics worldwide;
    • Analyse literary modes and techniques of indigenous poetry and fiction;
    • Provide a learning situation where students read for inspiration and pleasure while developing their critical abilities.
    • Contextualise contemporary indigenous literature within broader discourses of indigenous philosophy and politics.
    Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course you should be able to:
    1. Analyse and critique a variety of modes of indigenous writing from different linguistic, cultural and historical contexts.
    2. Contextualise contemporary indigenous literature within broader discourses of indigenous culture, history, philosophy and politics.
    3. Participate in debates about indigenous writing and literature through presentations and guided seminar discussion.
    4. Source, interpret and reference relevant scholarship about indigenous literature.

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.