Exploring Central Australia: Fieldwork

Subject AUST30003 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 25
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 2, 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

On Campus seminars and field trip to central Australia.

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Fieldwork of six days/five nights in central Australia (at additional cost) plus 14 hours of seminars at the University. The fieldwork will be held over the mid-semester break.
Total Time Commitment:

240 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

Students who have passed Exploring Central Australia with the codes 102-005, 670-308 or AUST20002 are not permitted to enrol in this subject.

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/


Prof Katherine Darian-Smith



Subject Overview:

Exploring Central Australia is an interdisciplinary subject based on an intensive field trip to Central Australia. The subject prompts academic inquiry in the context of a first-hand encounter with the environment and cultures of the region. It focuses on the contested histories and contemporary realities of race and culture in the town of Alice Springs, and also explores the 'meanings' of Uluru for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This subject is taught through a combination of seminars at the University and an intensive field trip (at additional cost) to Central Australia, which includes the opportunity to learn from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous inhabitants of the region. Students will be encouraged to produce research and writing that investigates issues, challenges stereotypes, and draws upon their fieldwork observations and interactions.


Students who successfully complete this subject should:

  • Appreciate the range and diversity of representations of central Australia across visual, filmic and written texts
  • Comprehend the experiences of Aboriginal and non-indigenous Australia in central Australia, and the political, social and cultural implications of these experiences.
  • Build an understanding of Central Australia through seminars, a fieldtrip, and independent and collaborative research.

one 1500 word writing exercise 15% (due before semester break before field trip), one 2500 word journal 25% (due after the field trip); one 500 word research proposal 10% (due after the fieldtrip); one 3000 word research essay 40% (due at the end of semester during examination period) and a class presentation of 500 words 10% (due during the semester).

Hurdle requirement: Students must attend all the seminars and the field trip in order to pass this subject. Assessment submitted late without an approved extension will be penalised at 10% per day; after five working days, no late assessment will be marked. In-class tasks missed without approval will not be marked. All pieces of written work must be submitted to pass this subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Readings for this subject will be made available online through the LMS site.

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:
  • Research: through competent use of the library and other information sources, and the definition of areas of inquiry and methods of research
  • Critical thinking and analysis: through recommended reading, essay writing and tutorial discussion, and by determining the strength of an argument
  • Thinking in theoretical terms: through lectures, tutorial discussion, essay writing and engagement in the methodologies of the humanities and social sciences
  • Understanding of social, ethical and cultural context: through the contextualisation of judgments, developing a critical self-awareness, being open to new ideas and possibilities and by constructing an argument
  • Communicating knowledge intelligibly and economically: through essay writing and tutorial discussion
Links to further information: http://australian-centre.unimelb.edu.au/

Please note that this subject has an off campus component and is taught at levels 2 and 3.

Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Australian Studies
Australian Studies
Australian Studies
Australian Studies Major
Related Breadth Track(s): Australia: Indigenous and Settler Contexts

Download PDF version.