Indigenous cultures and histories - XM0017

Indigenous cultures and histories

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About Indigenous cultures and histories

We cover a wide range of disciplines relating to Indigenous peoples, culture, history and experiences. You’ll explore Indigenous history through units that combine anthropology, archaeology, history and heritage studies.

Why study Indigenous cultures and histories?

You’ll explore the origins and transformation of Australia’s 600 Indigenous groups that date back 50,000 years. You’ll learn to critically examine constructions of indigeneity and ‘Aboriginalism’, be able to recognise traditions in Indigenous studies in national contexts and apply them to real-world problems.

What will you study?

This area of study allows you to understand the past and contemporary experiences of Indigenous peoples in Australia and internationally by looking at:

  • Different aspects of Indigenous cultures and how these have undergone change and adaptation
  • Historical and contemporary contexts
  • Relationship between Indigenous and settler Australians
  • Position of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in contemporary society
  • Indigenous relationships to each other and to the land.

Units you will study include:

  • Interrogating Racism: Indigenous Australians and the state
  • Indigenous Justice in Australia
  • Hearing the Country: Studies in Indigenous Australian Ethnoecology
  • Australia’s ancient Indigenous past: A 65,000 year archaeological odyssey
  • Interrogating racism: Indigenous Australians and the state
  • On a dig: Practical archaeology in the field
  • The archaeology of world rock art
  • Indigenous peoples globally
  • Aboriginal languages of Australia

What careers will you be ready for?

A range of employment opportunities are available such as:

  • Consultancy with heritage companies
  • Not-for-profit sector
  • Policy in government
  • Aboriginal-controlled organisations in health, child welfare, heritage and ecology and land councils
  • Museum and art galleries
  • Environmental organisations
  • Academia and much more.

Who will be teaching you?

Monash was the first university to support research and teaching into contemporary Indigenous society. You can learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, traditions and histories. Our staff continue to actively establish new collaborations with Indigenous communities as well as with other universities and research institutions across the globe.

Our innovative research projects work towards bringing about positive change and attitudes. The Monash Indigenous Studies Centre has active world-class researchers and teachers in the areas of:

  • Indigenous archaeology
  • Impacts of colonialism
  • Social justice
  • Cultural understanding
  • Ecological knowledge and the languages and social structures that hold that knowledge
  • Cultural change and continuity
  • Rock-art
  • Cultural history and heritage.

Global study

GIG: Global Immersion Guarantee

The Monash Arts Global Immersion Guarantee (GIG) is an award-winning initiative that will enable you to explore first-hand the relationships between society, technology and the environment. It’s a two-week, funded study trip for all eligible first-year Monash Arts, single or double degree students to one of six destinations – China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia or the Pacific Islands.

Major Focus by location
Focus Locations
Major Note Clayton
Minor Note Clayton

This area of study is offered in the following courses or can be taken where you have 8 free electives. To see if you can take this area of study within a double degree select from the course offering below.

Working with Indigenous communities

By taking an internship you can work with Indigenous organisations around Australia and gain valuable experience through hands‑on learning.

Career options

  • Not-for-profit sector
  • Aboriginal-controlled organisations in health
  • Child welfare
  • Heritage and ecology
  • Land councils
  • Teaching

Overseas opportunities

As a Monash student you have the option to make your course an international one. One option is studying at a Monash campus abroad, and you'll have Malaysia, India, China or Prato (Italy) to choose from.