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ANTH2902 Aboriginal Art and Society

6 points
Not available in 2022UWA (Perth)Face to face
Not available in 2022AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • 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.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Katie Glaskin
Unit rules
any Level 1 Arts unit
Advisable prior study:
anthropology or 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.