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Representing Aboriginal People, History and Place (85212)


Bluff Rock : Autobiography of a Massacre!$!Schlunke, Katrina!$! !$!!$!2005
"The Eliza Fraser Story and Constructions of Gender, Race and Class in Australian Vulture"!$!Schaeffer, K!$!St. Lucia!$!Hecate, Vol. 17, Iss. 1!$!1991
The True Story of Jimmy Governor!$!Moore, L. & Williams, S.!$!Crows Nest, NSW!$!Allen & Unwin!$!2001
"Screeing Indigenous Australia: an overview of Aboriginal representation on film"!$!Krausz, P.!$!!$!Australian Screen Education, Spring Issue 32!$!2003
"The Rules of Being Australian"!$!Daly, A.!$!Accessed on-line 20/07/04!$!Senses of Cinema!$!
form y separately published work icon Australian Rules Phillip Gwynne , Paul Goldman , ( dir. Paul Goldman ) Australia : Tidy Town Pictures , 2002 Z931436 2002 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units)

In Prospect Bay, a remote fishing town in South Australian, the only thing that connects the two communities - the Goonyas (whites) and the Nungas (blacks) - is football. The underlying racism and class warfare threatens to make the team's greatest victories irrelevant, though. Two members of the team, Gary Black (the son of a white fisherman) and Dumby Red (the team's star player), are an exception, however, having been best friends since childhood despite their different cultural and family backgrounds. The jubilation that occurs when the team wins the local premiership is short-lived when Dumby is inexplicably overlooked for the 'best on ground' award. This incident subsequently sets off a chain of events that ends in tragedy.

[Sources: Weekend Australian 22-23 December 2001 pp.14-15 and Australian Screen]

Gender and Radiance Ceridwen Spark , 2001 single work criticism (taught in 1 units)
— Appears in: Hecate , vol. 27 no. 2 2001; (p. 38-49)
y separately published work icon Buried Country : The Story of Aboriginal Country Music Clinton Walker , Sydney : Pluto Press , 2000 Z1439230 2000 single work biography (taught in 1 units)

'To some, black skin and country music may seem unlikely bedfellows. But from early stars like Jimmy Little and Herb Laughton through Dougie and Wilga Williams to Vic Sims, Bob 'Brown Skin baby' Randal, Bobby McLeod, Issac Yama and Roger Knox. Aboriginal country music is a very real phenomenon. A long rich tradition that's still alive today in Troy Cassar-Daley and Archie Roach.' (Source: On-line)

form y separately published work icon B.L.A.C.K. : An Aboriginal Song of Hip-hop Grant Leigh Saunders , ( dir. Grant Leigh Saunders ) North Ryde : Australian Film Television and Radio School , 2006 Z1404810 2006 single work film/TV (taught in 1 units)

'B.L.A.C.K. is a cypher scribed by independent and indigenous Hip Hop artist, Wire MC, which stands for Born Long Ago Creation's Keeper. Through interview and observation the song is visually and dialectically deconstructed to speak of contemporary issues around Aboriginal blackness, politics and culture. The filmmaker with his own roots in hip hop aligns himself with Wire and through a rapped narrative adds antoher layer of complexity to notions of blackness, by pulling apart his own identity. This is a musical documentary that exposes an authentic and empowering B.L.A.C.K. voice existing underneath the hype of 'bling-bling' hip hop.'

Source: (Sighted 7/9/11)

y separately published work icon Writing Never Arrives Naked : Early Aboriginal Cultures of Writing in Australia Penny Van Toorn , Canberra : Aboriginal Studies Press , 2006 Z1286101 2006 single work criticism (taught in 2 units)

'In Writing Never Arrives Naked, Penny van Toorn engages our minds and hearts. In this academically innovative book she reveals the resourceful and often poignant ways that Indigenous Australians involved themselves in the colonisers' paper culture. The first Aboriginal readers were children stolen from the clans around Sydney Harbour. The first Aboriginal author was Bennelong – a stolen adult. From the early years of colonisation, Aboriginal people used written texts to negotiate a changing world, to challenge their oppressors, protect country and kin, and occasionally for economic gain. Van Toorn argues that Aboriginal people were curious about books and papers, and in time began to integrate letters of the alphabet into their graphic traditions. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Aboriginal people played key roles in translating the Bible, and made their political views known in community and regional newspapers. They also sent numerous letters and petitions to political figures, including Queen Victoria. Penny van Toorn challenges the established notion that the colonists' paper culture superseded Indigenous oral cultures. She argues that Indigenous communities developed their own cultures of reading and writing, which involved a complex interplay between their own social protocols and the practices of literacy introduced by the British. Many distinctive features of Aboriginal writing today were shaped by the cultural, socio-political and institutional conditions in which Aboriginal people were living in colonial times.' (Source: Publisher's website)

y separately published work icon Macquarie PEN Anthology of Aboriginal Literature Anita Heiss (editor), Peter Minter (editor), Nicholas Jose (editor), Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2008 Z1483175 2008 anthology poetry drama prose correspondence criticism extract (taught in 19 units)

'An authoritative survey of Australian Aboriginal writing over two centuries, across a wide range of fiction and non-fiction genres. Including some of the most distinctive writing produced in Australia, it offers rich insights into Aboriginal culture and experience...

'The anthology includes journalism, petitions and political letters from both the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, as well as major works that reflect the blossoming of Aboriginal poetry, prose and drama from the mid-twentieth century onwards. Literature has been used as a powerful political tool by Aboriginal people in a political system which renders them largely voiceless. These works chronicle the ongoing suffering of dispossession, but also the resilience of Aboriginal people across the country, and the hope and joy in their lives.' (Publisher's blurb)

y separately published work icon Paperbark : A Collection of Black Australian Writings Jack Davis (editor), Stephen Muecke (editor), Mudrooroo (editor), Adam Shoemaker (editor), St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1990 Z299632 1990 anthology poetry drama short story criticism prose autobiography biography (taught in 2 units)

'This is the first collection to span the diverse range of Black Australian writings. Thirty-six Aboriginal and Islander authors have contributed, including David Unaipon, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Gerry Bostock, Ruby Langford, Robert Bropho, Jack Davis, Hyllus Maris, William Ferguson, Sally Morgan, Mudrooroo Narogin and Archie Weller. Many more are represented through community writings such as petitions and letters.

Collected over six years from all the states and territories of Australia, Paperbark ranges widely across time and genre from the 1840s to the present, from transcriptions of oral literature to rock opera. Prose, poetry, song, drama and polemic are accompanied by the selected artworks of Jimmy Pike, and an extensive, up-to-date bibliography.The voices of Black Australia speak with passion and power in this challenging and important anthology.' Source: Publisher's blurb.

Stalking Aboriginal Culture : The Wanda Koolmatrie Affair Philip Morrissey , 2003 single work criticism (taught in 1 units)
— Appears in: Australian Feminist Studies , November vol. 18 no. 42 2003; (p. 299-307)
Having played a part as a publisher's reader in the Koolmatrie affair himself, Morrissey examines this literary hoax from a variety of perspectives relating to its origins, development, implications and consequences, and produces some new information and facts. Among other aspects he suggests that My Own Sweet Time was the work, either jointly or individually, of two white men, John Bayley and Leon Carmen.
y separately published work icon A Fringe of Leaves Patrick White , London : Jonathan Cape , 1976 Z476217 1976 single work novel (taught in 8 units)
y separately published work icon The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith Thomas Keneally , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1972 Z559274 1972 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 4 units)

'When Jimmie Blacksmith marries a white woman, the backlash from both Jimmie's tribe and white society initiates a series of dramatic events. As Jimmie tries to survive between two cultures, tensions reach a head when the Newbys, Jimmie's white employers, try to break up his marriage. The Newby women are murdered and Jimmie flees, pursued by police and vigilantes. The hunt intensifies as further murders are committed, and concludes with tragic results.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (HarperCollins ed.)

y separately published work icon Blacklines : Contemporary Critical Writing by Indigenous Australians Michèle Grossman (editor), Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2003 Z1072525 2003 anthology criticism essay (taught in 11 units)
y separately published work icon Past and Present : The Construction of Aboriginality Jeremy Beckett , Canberra : Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies , 1988 Z1575565 1988 selected work non-fiction (taught in 5 units)
form y separately published work icon Jedda Jedda The Uncivilised Charles Chauvel , Elsa Chauvel , ( dir. Charles Chauvel ) Australia : Charles Chauvel Productions , 1955 Z1382736 1955 single work film/TV (taught in 13 units)

'On a lonely cattle station in the Northern Territory, a newly born Aboriginal baby is adopted by a white woman in place of her own child who has died. The child is raised as a white child and forbidden any contact with the Aborigines on the station. Years later, Jedda is drawn by the mysteries of the Aboriginal people but restrained by her upbringing. Eventually she is fascinated by a full-blood Aboriginal, Marbuck, who arrives at the station seeking work and is drawn to his campfire by his song. He takes her away as his captive and returns to his tribal lands, but he is rejected by his tribe for having broken their marriage taboos. Pursued by the men from Jedda's station and haunted by the death wish of his own tribe, Marbuck is driven insane and finally falls, with Jedda, over a cliff.'

(Synopsis from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School website,

Reports From a Wild Country: Ethics for Decolonisation!$!Rose, D.!$!Sydney!$!U of New South Wales P!$!2004
Mixedblood Messages: Literature, Film, Family, Place!$!Owens, L.!$!Norman!$!U of Oklahoma P!$!1998
Real Indians: Identity and the survival of Native America!$!Garroutte. E.M.!$!California!$!U of California P!$!2003
"This land is mine/ this land is me': Reconciling Harmonies in One Night the Moon"!$!Probyn, F & Simpson, C. !$!Accessed on-line 20/06/05!$!Sense of Cinema, Issue No. 19, March-April!$!2002
"Stalking Aboriginal Culture: The Wanda Koolmatrie affair"!$!Morrissey, P.!$!!$!Australian Feminist Studies, November, vol. 18, no. 42.!$!2003
Mutant Message Downunder: A Woman's Journey into Dreamtime Australia!$!Morgan, M.!$!New York!$!Harpercollins!$!1994
Elizabeth Durack interview 'Australian Biography'!$!!$!!$!!$!
"The Representation of the Indigenous Other in Daughters of the Dust and The Piano"!$!Brown, C !$!!$!NWSA Journal Vol. 15 No. 1, Spring!$!2003
"Racial referents: images of European/Aboriginal relations in Australian feature films, 1955-1984"!$!Brown, K!$!!$!Sociological Review August Vol. 36!$!1988
"Films by Tracey Moffatt"!$!Baron, C!$!!$!Womens Studies Quarterly, Spring/Summer, Vol. 30 Issue 1/2!$!2002
Power Knowledges and Aborigines!$!Attwood, B & Arnold, J (Eds)!$!Bundoora, Vic!$!La Trobe UP in association with the National Centre for Australian Studies, Monash U!$!1992
Past and Present: The Construction of Aboriginality!$!Beckett, J!$!Canberra!$!Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institutes of Aboriginal Studies!$!1988
The Destruction of Aboriginal Society!$!Rowley, C.D.!$!Australia!$!Penguin!$!1970
"Well, i heard it on the radio and saw it on the television -" : an essay for the Australian Film Commission on the politics and asthetics of filmmaking by and about Aboriginal people and things!$!Langton, M!$!North Syndney!$!Australian Film Commission!$!1993
Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices!$!Hall, S (ed)!$!London!$!Sage in association with The Open University!$!1997
Savage Imaginings: Historical and contemporary constructions of Australian Aboriginality !$!Russell, L!$!Melbourne!$!Australian Scholarly Publishing!$!2001
Frontier Conflict: The Australian Experience!$!Bain Attwood and S G Foster!$!Canberra!$!National Museum of Australia!$!2003
"Appropriating the Didjeridu and the Sweat Lodge: New Age baddies and Indigenous Victime" , Journal of Contemporary Religion, Vol. 17, No. 1 !$!Welch, C.!$!!$!!$!2002
"Aboriginal Art and Film: the politics of representation" Race and Class, April - June V. 35, N. 4 1994, V. 35, N. 4!$!Langton, M!$!!$!!$!1994
Contested Ground: Australian Aborigines under the British Crown!$!McGrath, A.!$! St. Leonards, NSW!$!Allen & Unwin!$!1995
Domesticating Resistance: The Dhan-Gaadi Aborigines and the Australian State!$!Morris, B!$!Oxford!$!Berg!$!1989
Black, White or Brindle: race in rural Australia!$!Cowlishaw, G.:!$!Cambridge!$!Cambridge UP!$!1988


Over the last 20 years there has been notable growth in Aboriginal creation and control of their own cultural representations through various mediums (autobiography, life stories, documentary and feature films, poetry, painting, the media, music and dance). This subject analyses and compares Aboriginal people's representation in the public arena to develop an understanding of Aboriginal culture, cultural continuity and change, contemporary identity and Indigenous people's rights and aspirations in modern Australia. The subject draws upon a range of intellectual disciplines, including history, anthropology and cultural studies alongside emerging Indigenous knowledge systems to develop an understanding of Indigenous Australian perspectives and expression. Critical consideration of images and representations provides a framework for engaging with Indigenous issues. Underpinning this approach to studying representations of Aboriginal people are social theories that provide a broad understanding of the nature of racism in the reproduction of unequal power relations in society.

Subject objectives/outcomes

At the completion of this subject, students are expected to be able to:

critically analyse and engage with representations in film and text of Aboriginal people as historical and cultural constructions;

critically analyse contemporary Indigenous forms of representation and knowledge systems across different text (film, images, literature, the media);

at the level of Professional Practice, develop critical skills to represent more appropriately Aboriginal issues and perspectives in their professional fields;

develop appropriate practices and confidence for interacting with local Aboriginal communities;

critically examine the ways racism constructs typical representations of Aboriginality, the nation and race relations in the Australia

be able to negotiate the plurality and diversity of both the theoretical perspectives studied and the ways that you, your teacher and your peers engage differently with the subject.

Teaching and learning strategies

The subject provides you with access to a wide range of intellectual resources and seeks to create an environment that supports lively, intellectually challenging and stimulating debate. The subject aims to be student-learning focused.

The lectures / tutorials will incorporate a range of teaching and experiential learning strategies including readings, case studies, structured small group discussion and student presentations. You will be required to participate in film screening and attend two field trips as part of this subject. You will also be encouraged to attend other performances where appropriate.

This subject provides you with a wide range of learning experiences that will facilitate your knowledge of the social theory field and how this can be advanced or challenged through its application to the area of Indigenous Australian critical studies.

You will be encouraged to develop your practical skills in liaising with Aboriginal communities or organisations and your participation in relevant professional, industry or community-based projects. This approach is consistent with UTS's commitment to practice-based learning.


Assessment item 1: Analysis of key texts



Task:Complete a written report (2-3 pages) summarising each of the set readings for weeks 1-3.

Assessment item 2: Tutorial Presentation and written paper based on presentation



Length:1000 words (6cp), 1200 words (8cp)

Task:For this assessment you are required to undertake research on a topic as set out in the subject outline or negotiated topic, present your findings to the class, facilitate discussion for up to one hour of class time and present a written analysis of your work the following week. The topic and therefore the date, will be allocated in week three. You might like to consider what theme you would like to pursue for this presentation, and possibly for the next assignment, prior to week three.

Assessment item 3: Negotiated Independent Project



Length:2500 words

Task:A written project. This will assess your understanding of the subject material and your ability to apply the social theories we have studied and critical Indigenous perspectives.

Supplementary Texts

Cowlishaw, G., (1992) Studying Aborigines: Changing Canons in Anthropology and History, in Attwood & Arnold (Eds) Power Knowledge and Aborigines, Bundoora, Vic. La Trobe University Press in association with the National Centre for Australian Studies, Monash University.

Grossman M., (2003) Blacklines: contemporary critical writing by indigenous Australians, Carlton, Vic. Melbourne University Press. Introduction pp.1-14.

Muecke, S. (2004) Ancient & modern: time, culture and indigenous philosophy, Sydney: University of NSW.

Muecke, S. (2005) Textual spaces: aboriginality and cultural studies, Perth, W.A. API Network, Australian Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology.

Coe, Mary, (1989) Windradyne: a Wiradjuri Koorie, Canberra, Aboriginal Studies Press. [available @ Sydney University library]

Cowlishaw, G., (1988) Black, White or Brindle: race in rural Australia, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp13-52.

Goodall, H., 'New South Wales' in McGrath, A., (1995) Contested ground: Australian Aborigines under the British crown, St. Leonards, NSW, Allen & Unwin, pp 55-120.

Morris, B., (1989) Domesticating Resistance: The Dhan-Gadi Aborigines and the Australian State, Berg Publishers, Oxford, pp 6-30.

Rowley, C.D., (1970) Eastern frontiers: New South Wales in The Destruction of Aboriginal Society, Penguin, Australia, pp 27-63.

Ryan, L., Waterloo Creek: northern New South Wales, 1838 in Bain Attwood and S G Foster, (2003) Frontier conflict: the Australian experience, Canberra, National Museum of Australia, pp 33-43.

McNiven, I.J, Russell, L. & Schaffer, K. (eds) (1998) Constructions of colonialism: perspectives on Eliza Fraser's shipwreck, London; New York, Leicester University Press.

Miller, O., (1994) Legends of Fraser Island, Port Melbourne, Rigby Heinemann.

Schaffer, K., (1995) In the wake of first contact: the Eliza Fraser stories, New York, Cambridge University Press.

Other Details

Levels: Undergraduate