Course Title: Indigenous Dislocation and Diaspora

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Indigenous Dislocation and Diaspora

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


365H Global, Urban and Social Studies

Face-to-Face or Internet

Sem 1 2017

Course Coordinator: Associate Professor John Whyte

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 1079

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 37.2

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Can you imagine 400 million people being forcibly dispossessed from their country? That’s more than the population of most countries in the world, except China or India. This is the lived experience of the estimated 400 million Indigenous people around the world today.

In this course you will develop and apply new understandings about the protracted world history of colonisation and dispossession that has led to the current global situation where the majority of Indigenous peoples no longer live on their traditional homelands. You will learn about the dispossession of Indigenous peoples due to removal by missionaries, governments, wars, massacres and other atrocities, and you will examine the impacts and interrelationships of these dislocations. For example, you will learn how the massacre of over 150 Lakota men, women and children at Wounded Knee by US government troops in 1890 is one of the largest massacres in US history. This resonates with many Indigenous Australians, who hold family knowledge of massacres and removals off traditional lands, which have occurred in living memory.

Through case studies you will develop insight into the ongoing impacts of colonisation on health and education outcomes for many Indigenous peoples in Australia. You will also examine the history and treatment of Indigenous peoples in other colonised nations such as Canada, North America and New Zealand. Through review and comparison of the experiences and political situations and social movements of dispossessed people, such as African Americans, Palestinians and Taiwanese Indigenous groups, you will apply your new understandings to consider the relevance of these movements to Indigenous rights in Australia today.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Compare and critically evaluate key social, constructionist and Indigenous identity theories discussed in the course
  • Discuss and identify complexities of social meanings in relation to Indigenous identity and dislocation
  • Evaluate the key factors and processes involved and impacted upon by Indigenous forced dislocations and migrations.
  • Apply the ideas and theories studied in this course to reflect upon your own life and experiences
  • Demonstrate respect for Indigenous Knowledge Systems.

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities will include interactive workshop activities focusing on group-based discussion and problem solving tasks. Course learning materials will be made available in a range of formats, which may include lectures, guest speakers and online media. In workshops you will also develop academic skills including analytical reading and academic writing.

In order to develop your knowledge and skills, you will be expected to participate in interactive discussions and activities and to critically engage with the weekly reading materials. The workshops offer a supportive learning environment where you will have the opportunity to share your knowledge and experiences, and to learn from the knowledge and experience your peers. This peer-based learning may take place through small-group discussions, collaborative work on activities and assessments and/or peer reviewing of research, written work and/or oral presentations.

Overview of Learning Resources

You will be given access to a wide range of resources through a Course Reader or core textbook and also will be able to access to a wide range of online learning tools and content for your course from the student portal, myRMIT, and RMIT Library resources. These resources will include book chapters, journal articles, media articles, lecture notes, bibliographies for supplementary reading, video, and links to external websites.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes.  Assessment will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of your learning. You will be able to develop your work in relation to your own specific areas of interest in your professional practice. Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.


In this course there are three assessments.  It is essential that you participate fully in the course activities as they have been designed to prepare you for assignments and to meet the intended learning outcomes of the course.  The assessments are comprised of:

Group presentation [20%]

In groups of at least 4 students you will lead the tutorial on the weeks topic based on the selected readings. The presentation should not exceed 10 minutes. You team will identify the key themes, arguments and points on a specific topic or reading. This assessment will be peer reviewed by the rest of class [10%] and assessed by the tutor for content, presentation and argument [10%].

Excursion & report [30%]

In groups of up to 4 students attend an Indigenous display or exhibition at a Museum, art gallery or other cultural centre. Alternatively attend a film or play about Indigenous themes, which includes Indigenous actors and has other significant Indigenous input (e.g. director, producer etc.). Present a journal piece on what the exhibition or film was about, what the group experienced, how has this changed or has not changed your views and what you know on Indigenous people in Australia and world-wide and why. Nominate one person in the group to upload your assignment into the on-line system.

Essay [50%]

Select 1 topic from the list provided in the first week of class and write an essay, which examines the implications of dislocation on a specific group of Indigenous peoples either in Australia, North America or New Zealand. Make sure you show evidence of your research for the group you have chosen. Your essay must be fully referenced with in-text referencing or footnotes and a reference list.  2000 words.

Additional information

  • If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or the Disability Liaison Unit if you would like to find out more.
  • A student charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT student as well as those of your teachers.
  • Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies, procedures and instructions which are available for review online:;ID=c15i3ciaq8ca