Racial Literacy: Indigeneity & Whiteness

Subject AIND20009 (2011)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2011.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 2 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2011:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2.5-hours per week
Total Time Commitment: Not available


Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: MULT10001 Australian Indigenous Studies
Non Allowed Subjects: 106-317 Racial Literacy: Indigeneity & Whiteness and AIND30009 Racial Literacy: Indigeneity & Whiteness
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Dr Odette Kelada, Mr Philip Morrissey


Odette Kelada


Subject Overview: This subject aims to enhance student's racial literacy with a focus on representations of Indigeneity and whiteness in Australia. The term, "racial literacy", devised to describe anti-racist practices, entails students becoming literate in critically reading and understanding multiple modes of race representation. The inter-disciplinary approach enables students to analyse the relationships among texts, images, language and social practices, drawing on Australian literature, media, film and the visual arts. In this way, the subject equips students to become multi-literate in critiquing race constructions of identity formation and nation building through the creative and communicative arts. The subject introduces students to critical theoretical frameworks incorporating postcolonial, race and whiteness studies. It will engage with questions of voice, position, power, agency, capital and social justice issues to explore how representations of Indigeneity and whiteness operate with regard to the intersections of race, gender and class relations in an Australian context (with links and comparisons also made to examples of race representation in a global context).
Objectives: Students who complete this subject will:

  • develop racial literacy with the ability to critically evaluate multiple modes of race representation and articulate the strategies utilised in the operation of specific representations of Indigenous Australians and white Australians;
  • appreciate the complexities and power of race representation in impacting on the formation of nation, history and political and public issues in Australia and on personal levels of constructing their own racial locations, cultural identities, ideologies and social experiences;
  • gain a nuanced understanding of how racial hierarchies and investments are reinforced or countered through representations of Indigeneity and whiteness;
  • understand conceptual tools and key theoretical issues involved in critical race studies and the politics of representation.
Assessment: Tutorial participation and a 10-minute paper presentation done in class, 10%, an essay of 1500 words 30% (due mid-semester), and an essay of 2500 words 60% (due at the end of semester). This subject has a minimum hurdle requirement of 75%, regular participation in tutorials are required. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.
Prescribed Texts: A subject reader will be available.

  • Langton, M. Well I heard it on the radio and I saw it on the television ... An essay for the Australian film commission on the politics of filmaking by and about Aboriginal people and things (Australian Film Commission)
  • Moreton-Robinson, A. Talkin' Up to the White Women: Indigenous Women and Feminism (UQP)
  • Grossman, M. ed. Blacklines: Contemporary Critical Writing by Indigenous Australians (MUP)
Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills: Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • have a developed understanding of relevant critical theories and methods;
  • be able to work effectively as an individual and member of class;
  • be competent in the use of a wide range of research applications and resources;
  • communicate complex ideas clearly and comprehensively;
  • produce high quality written material in a timely manner.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Australian Indigenous Studies
Australian Indigenous Studies
Australian Indigenous Studies
Australian Indigenous Studies Major

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