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ABSX2020 – Indigenous Culture and Text

2020 – Session 1, Fully online/virtual

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Bronwyn Carlson
Innez Haua
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
40cp at 1000 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

This unit will examine Indigenous Australian texts to explore Indigenous peoples’ perspectives of culture and continuity. Students will be introduced to a variety of creative works, including biography, music, literature, and the growing presence of Indigenous voices in online spaces. We will consider the range of reasons Indigenous Australians write and create, from resistance to celebration, as well as the political motivations for publication. Students will also examine the impact of Indigenous creative works on national identity and understandings of Indigenous Australia.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Discuss key features of Indigenous Australian literature (creative texts produced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples).
  • ULO2: Articulate the place of Indigenous Australian literature in relation to Indigenous Studies, Australian literature, and comparative Indigenous literary studies.
  • ULO3: Demonstrate an understanding of relevant literary traditions, histories of interaction, colonisation and nationalism, various creative art forms, and the politics of publication and anthologising in Australia.
  • ULO4: Critically consider specific texts by Indigenous Australian people in the light of the above understandings.

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Assessment Information


Referencing is an essential component of academic writing or presentation since it enables the reader to follow up the source of ideas and information presented in your work, and to examine the interpretation you place on the material discovered in your research. Reliable referencing clearly indicates where you have drawn your own conclusions from the evidence presented. Importantly, much of the material you will use is covered by copyright which means that you must acknowledge any source of information, including books, journals, newsprint, images and the internet. It is obligatory for students to reference all sources used in their written work including electronic material. Students should consult the University library website for a detailed explanation and examples of how to reference electronic material correctly Different programs use different referencing styles to reflect the needs of their discipline. It is the student’s responsibility to check which referencing style is used. APA referencing style and Harvard referencing style will be accepted in Indigenous Studies.

Late Submission Penalty:

Unless a Special Consideration request has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted more than seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline. No late submissions will be accepted for timed assessments – e.g. quizzes, online tests.

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Lecture / Tutorial

Recording Available after 4:00pm Tuesday weekly.

Engagement online.

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Week One – 25th February – What is text? Interpreting and critically evaluating literature and other texts

Heiss, A., 2003. Indigenous Discourse in Heiss, A. Dhuuluu-Yala: To Talk Straight-Publishing Indigenous Literature. Aboriginal Studies Press.


Week Two – 2nd March – Auto/biography and identity

Haag, O., 2011. Indigenous Australian autobiography and the question of genre: an analysis of scholarly discourse. Acta Neophilologica, 44(1-2), p.69.

Paradies, Y.C., 2006. Beyond black and white: Essentialism, hybridity and indigeneity. Journal of Sociology, 42(4), pp.355-367.


Week Three – 9th March – Non-Fiction

Grossman, M., 1998. Out of the salon and into the streets: contextualising Australian Indigenous women’s writing. Women’s Writing, 5(2), pp. 169-192

Pascoe, B., 2014. Dark Emu Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?. Magabala Books.


Week Four – 16th March – Land and Country

Moreton-Robinson, A., 2009. Imagining the good indigenous citizen: Race war and the pathology of patriarchal white sovereignty. Cultural studies review, 15(2), p.61.


Week Five – 23rd March – Music / Musicians

Blanch, F.R., 2011. Young Nunga males at play and playing up: the look and the talk. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 32, 99–112.

Kennedy, T., 2018, Black Metal not Black-Metal: White privilege in online heavy metal spaces,

Media International Australia, 169(1), pp. 94-100.

Listen to: AB Original, Homesick, Southeast Desert Metal, Coloured Stone, Archie Roach, Yothu Yindi


Week Six – 31st March – Children’s Literature

O'Neill, A., 2011. Aboriginal Australian and Canadian First Nations children's literature. CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture, 13(2), p.4.


Week Seven – 7th April – Reading Week [Online Activities Only]

See iLearn for details


Week Eight – 28th April – Guest Lecturer



Week Nine – 5th May – Guest Lecturer



Week Ten – 12th May – Social Media

Carlson, B.L., Jones, L.V., Harris, M., Quezada, N. and Frazer, R., 2017. Trauma, Shared Recognition and Indigenous Resistance on Social media. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 21.


Week Eleven – 19th May – Chick Lit

Mathew, I. ‘“The Pretty and the Political Didn’t Seem to Blend Well”: Anita Heiss’ Chick Lit and the Destabilisation of a Genre.’ Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature 15.3 (2015): 1-11.

Heiss, A., 2006. Black poetics. Meanjin, 65(1), p.180.


Week Twelve – 28th May – Futurism

James, L., 2016. Children of Change, Not Doom: Indigenous Futurist Heroines in YA. Extrapolation, 57(1-2), pp.151-176.

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to help you improve your marks and take control of your study.

The Library provides online and face to face support to help you find and use relevant information resources. 

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Protocols for Indigenous Studies Australia

There are two distinct Indigenous peoples: Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people. When writing about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders do not use the acronym ‘ATSI’, write in full. Capital letters should always be used when referring to Aboriginal peoples and or Torres Strait Islander peoples. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are acceptable terms to use, it should be recognised that these are collective terms and often used improperly to impose a single identity on the many different communities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people generally prefer to be known by the language/cultural groups or communities, to which they belong, that is, own names rather than terms such 'the Aboriginals' or 'the Islanders'. For example, Aboriginal people in the area surrounding Macquarie University may refer to themselves as Dharug. It is important that you always check the correct name or terms to use for people in the area/region. The use of incorrect, inappropriate or dated terminology is to be avoided as it can give offence. Many historical terms or those in common usage some years ago are now not acceptable, including terms such as 'aborigine' ‘native’, ‘savage’ and ‘primitive’. Similarly, do not use the terms ‘half-caste’, ‘part-Aborigine/Aboriginal’ or any reference to skin colour or physical features, as they do not signify that a person is Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander and may cause offence. When quoting from academic or other sources that uses inappropriate, dated terminology or racists language, use (sic) directly after the inappropriate term of phrase, thus calling attention to the fact that it has been sourced from the original and that you understand it to be outdated, inappropriate or problematic in the contemporary context.