Your Field Guide
Use the suggested websites to get a broad view of your desitnation, or select anotherscholarly resource to get started:
Each of the videos has a caption at the beginning: “May contain names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.” This respects Indigenous community cultural protocols related to deceased persons. For more information, see: Indigenous Cultural Protocols
Be sure to check out the “Education Notes” for each of the videos; they contain great background information!
- Creative Spirits: Get Aboriginal Culture Without Agenda “I think anybody who does a course on Aboriginal culture just sees Australia so differently. It’s very enlightening and gives another dimension to being Australian. —Anna Bell, coordinator Aboriginal Support Group Manly Warringah Pittwater
Choose a Topic and Explore More Deeply
Choose one of the topics from the list below and folow the suggested websites, or select your own scholarly resources.
History and Culture
- Website: Koori History
- Website: The AIATSIS map of Aboriginal Australia The Aboriginal Language Map attempts to represent all of the language or tribal or nation groups of Indigenous people of Australia. It indicates general locations of larger groupings of people which may include smaller groups such as clans, dialects or individual languages in a group.
- Article: Treaty by Yothu Yindi – a Trojan horse in the culture wars The Yolngu song never quite achieved what it set out to in the lifetime of its author, but it gave reconciliation in Australia an anthem
- Webpage: Yothu Yindi Band biography. “They took the ancient song cycles of north-east Arnhem Land – featuring such traditional instruments as the bilma (ironwood clapsticks) and yidaki (didgeridoo or hollow log) – and juxtaposed them with western pop sounds to present a true musical meeting of two diverse cultures. They took traditional Yolngu dance performances – describing the behavior of crocodiles, wallabies, brolga and other fauna of their homelands – and worked them into the context of contemporary performance. The result is a band that’s been hailed as “the most powerful blend of indigenous and modern music to emerge from the world music scene”.
- Article: Read the Lyrics of Yothu Yindi Yothu Yindi were best known for the song ‘Treaty” about the Hawke government’s broken promise to Indigenous people. Here are the lyrics, with translations.
Rituals and Rites of Passage
- Video Clip: Blood Brothers – Jardiwarnpa A sweeping aerial view of mountains jutting out of the flat desert-scape. A song of the area plays out in subtitles over the image. An elder tells us about the sacred Ancestor of this area, and his relation to him.
- Website: Photo Essay: Australian Aboriginal – Initiation and Mourning Rites of Passage
- Website: Artlandish Aboriginal Art Gallery, The Story of Aboriginal Art
- Article: Smithsonian Magazine, Contemporary Aboriginal Art
- Video: Shaman Creative, Gilbert Laurie, Artist
Each Module will have a “virtual field trip” assignment, that consists of a visit — to online websites and articles — and a written “Field Trip Essay” – where you describe, analyze, and reflect on what you have learned. Use this opportunity to more deeply explore another culture!
- Read, watch, and listen to the required materials above. Explore all area of the website(s), listen to all of the interviews, watch all associated videos.
- Select a more specific topic to help you dive deeper. Read, watch, and listen to the suggested websites for your topics above, and
- Submit your essay to the Assignments tool, and then post a copy into the Discussion to share with the class.
Introduction: In your opening paragraph, introduce the culture and topic of your field trip. Include the name of least one source (website or article) that you visited, using an internal citation.
Exploration: This is the heart of your essay! Address the following areas, to share what you learned during your field trip. Each of these should be a paragraph (3-4 sentences minimum).
- Overview of the topic. Give a general summary of information about the topic.
- Holistic and comparative analysis (choose one):
- If the field trip focuses on one cultural group, compare and contrast two elements within that culture, such as practices (rituals, art, etc.), or two different time periods
- If the field trip covers multiple groups, compare and contrast specific elements of two cultural groups
- Then, dig deeper! Apply these two anthropological fieldwork methods:
- Participant observation. Define participant observation. Explain at least two things you would do as part of this activity (2- sentences for each of these). How would this help you learn more about this culture?
- Interview. What is one question you would ask a member of that culture? Explain how that would help you learn more deeply about that culture or practice.
Remember: Use grammar and spell-check! Include a bibliography and two internal citations – one from a source in the field trip required materials, and one from our text readings for this module.
- Submit your essay to the Assignments tool.
- Copy and paste a copy of your essay into the Discussion tool.
- Read the essays posted by your peers, and a post a comment to two peers (75 words minimum each). Due one week after you post your initial essay.