ANTH2902 Aboriginal Art and Society

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the Anthropology and Sociology major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Category B broadening unit for students
  • Level 2 elective
This unit introduces students to the anthropology of Australian Aboriginal visual art, focusing on various anthropological approaches to understanding the productions of individual artists within their respective sociocultural contexts. Frameworks derived from the sub-disciplines of visual anthropology, cultural anthropology, and the anthropology of art provide analytical structure for approaching an understanding of Australian Aboriginal art within the broader Australian postcolonial setting. Topics addressed may include art and its relationship to place; cultural creativity and the maintenance of religious knowledge; colour and aesthetics; contemporary art; regional perspectives and stylistic values; appropriation, copyright and intellectual property.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of key concepts within the anthropology/sociology of art and Aboriginal art in particular; (2) demonstrate understanding of analytical approaches to an anthropology of art; (3) demonstrate an ability to understand the role of art in the transmission and maintenance of cultural knowledge and values and the emergence of new ideas, and apply this insight to the role of art as a marker of cultural process; (4) demonstrate an ability to understand the nature and characteristics of regional perspectives and stylistic values and apply this insight to the categorisation of styles in Aboriginal art; and (5) demonstrate an ability to communicate anthropological and sociological ideas, principles and knowledge to specialist and non-specialist audiences using a range of formats (written, oral, visual etc.), and to understand issues of appropriation, copyright and intellectual property as these pertain to Australian Aboriginal art.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) an in-class test; (2) research essay; and (3) lectorial participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Katie Glaskin
Unit rules
any Level 1 Arts unit
Advisable prior study:
art history
ANTH2224 Aboriginal Art: Production of Meaning
Contact hours
lectorials: 20 hours
Prerequisites do not apply to exchange or external students.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.