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Unit Overview


This unit provides a detailed examination of Indigenous knowledge systems in Australia, exploring key features, concepts and processes. Examples of content include discourses on holism; Indigenous notions of time, space and logic; understanding the primacy of relationships in Indigenous world views; and exploring notions of Indigenous law. Students examine the diversity of Indigenous knowledge systems in Australia and the common features that connect these systems. There are significant comparisons with the knowledge systems of Indigenous peoples in Canada and North America.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Indigenous Knowledge, History and Heritage; Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing major sequences
  • Level 2 option in the Human Rights major sequence
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) describe the key conceptual features of Indigenous knowledge systems and methods by which Indigenous theory is applied; (2) understand the diversity as well as the commonalities within different Indigenous systems; (3) understand principles on which Indigenous systems are based; (4) apply features of Indigenous logic and reasoning; (5) research a substantial issue in Indigenous knowledge and demonstrate knowledge of the subject in writing, employing 'Aboriginal voices' where appropriate; and (6) demonstrate an understanding of indigenous knowledge through on-country and experiential learning where practicable.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation assessments; (2) a tutorial presentation; and (3) research essay. 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)
Senior Lecturer Stephen Gilchrist
Unit rules
any Level 1 unit from the Indigenous Knowledge, History and Heritage major
or HIST1100 Aboriginal History
Contact hours
Lectures: 1 hour per week
workshops: 2 hours per week
The lecture series are face-to-face. The workshops are conducted face-to-face in the classroom.
Readings will be provided.
  • 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.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.