The Monash Indigenous Studies Centre offers units that aim to encourage students to understand the past and contemporary experiences of Indigenous Australians. Students will acquire a general knowledge of many different aspects of Australian Indigenous cultures and of how these cultures have undergone change and adaptation.

Units offered by Indigenous cultures and histories combine the study of social anthropology and contemporary experiences of Australian Aborigines by including the study of kinship, political, and linguistic systems in urban and remote societies and the contrasts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous societies. Introductory units examine Indigenous lifestyles, pre and post-invasion, and the concept of continuity, which provides a focus on understanding the importance of land. Study of the post-invasion period examines the effects of colonisation on Indigenous societies and economies, past and presents governmental policies and their effects on organisations and communities.

Teaching in the Centre includes lectures and small tutorial and seminar groups that encourage debate and inquiry. Presentations, written summaries and essays incorporate reflective, analytical and oral skills specific to Indigenous studies as well as to the Arts degree. A number of Arts Faculty units offered in Australian studies, anthropology, geography, history, politics, environmental science, and sociology complement units offered in Indigenous studies.

The Monash Indigenous Studies Centre offers major/minor sequences and elective units for first, second, and third year at Clayton campus.

Support for Indigenous Students

Information for Indigenous students considering studying at Monash University, or already studying at Monash University, can be found on the William Cooper Institute site:

Why study Indigenous cultures and histories

Many people come to study Indigenous cultures and histories because they have a personal desire to gain a better understanding of Australian Indigenous peoples and cultures. Others wish to enhance their understanding of Australian history and current issues of national significance such as reconciliation, land rights and Australian identity. Such outcomes confirm that Indigenous cultures and histories excels in equipping students for ‘citizenship’ ensuring they are informed members of our democratic society.

These are just some of the skills developed by students who undertake Indigenous cultures and histories:

  • written and oral communication
  • research and presentation skills
  • analysing and using information
  • flexibility and adaptability
  • collaboration, discussion and debate
  • self-expression and self-reliance
  • reflection and critical judgement
  • interpersonal skills
  • cross-cultural communication skills
  • expertise in Indigenous affairs