GEOGY323-20B (HAM)

Indigenous Geographies

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences


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Paper Description

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This paper focuses on Indigenous geographies and the impacts of colonial processes upon Indigenous communities, lands and resources. We begin by looking at experiences of colonialism across North America, Hawaii, Australia and Aotearoa. In particular we focus on the processes which influenced changes and, in many cases, replaced existing Indigenous socio-cultural, political and economic systems. We also examine the role of treaties, or in some cases the lack thereof, in the dispossession of indigenous communities from their lands and resources.

The second half of the paper canvasses a range contemporary Indigenous geographies. We discuss the diverse ways in which Indigenous peoples are negotiating, resisting and moving beyond colonial impositions across areas of land rights and resource use, education and language, gender, and popular culture, and health and well-being. This part of the paper serves to highlight the on-going and evolving process of colonialism but also to highlight the multiplicity of Indigenous geographies and the opportunities for decolonisation, indigenisation and transformation.

Key questions for this paper are:
  • What is Indigenous geography?
  • In what ways has British colonialism worked to dispossess Indigenous communities from their lands and resources? What role have treaties played in this?
  • How have Indigenous communities been impacted upon, responded to and resisted processes of colonialism?
  • In what ways are contemporary spaces being decolonised and indigenised through Indigenous research, activism and assertions of self-determination?

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Paper Structure

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The paper is made up of a combination of in-­class workshops and online forum activities. The online forum is an assessed item and will involve a combination of critical reflection activities that focus on literature, documentary and film reviews.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Students will:
    • Understand better the impacts of British colonialism on indigenous communities across Aotearoa, Australia, Hawaii and North America;
    • Demonstrate critical thinking about the contemporary impacts of colonialism through a series of online forum activities;
    • Be able to define Indigenous geographies and engage critically with Indigenous scholarship;
    • Develop an understanding of decolonisation and indigenisation and, using case studies, how this is enacted across different spatial scales and contexts.
    Linked to the following assessments:
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Assessments will be discussed in detail during workshops and in Moodle.

Assignment 1: Five online forum activities.

Worth 25% of the overall grade.

Five (5) Online Forum Activities to be completed via Moodle. Each activity is worth a maximum of 5% and will be graded out of 20.

These activities will vary over the semester but will include critical reflections, reading summaries, reviews of films or documentaries, discussion questions etc. A minimum of 500 words will be required for most of the activities and the due date for each forum activity will be 5 pm on the Friday of the week it is set.

Specific details of the due date for each Online Forum Activity is provided in the lecture schedule.

Assignment 2: Essay, due 21 August 2020, 5 pm

Worth 30% of the overall grade

Full details of the assessment will be provided in-class.

Students should choose ONE topic from either USA, Canada, Hawaii or Australia and examine how indigenous communities in that country have experienced colonialism. Student's should focus on the mechanisms of colonialism that were employed in that country - e.g. law, war, treaties. and discuss the impacts of colonisation on the Indigenous communities. Student's must also discuss ways in which Indigenous communities have navigated colonial impositions to decolonise and indigenise their geographies throughout their essay.

Essays should be 3000 words long, 1.5 or double spaced and font size 12. Students are expected to read academic literature to support their essay and reference appropriately using the Harvard Geography Referencing Style. A minimum of 10 academic references are required.

Assignment 3: Academic poster, due 16 October 2020, 5 pm

Worth 15% of the final grade

The purpose of this assessment is to design and create an academic a poster that you would use to summarise your essay topic. An academic poster is a creative, graphic and textual method used to present information. Posters are an effective and creative method of presenting academic work and research. Posters are to be formatted in Powerpoint and submitted in Moodle

Posters are to:

  • Present key points from your essay
  • Locate the Indigenous geographies discussed in your essay
  • Identify mechanisms of colonisation and the impacts on Indigenous communities
  • Identify Indigenous efforts to decolonise and Indigenise their spaces and places.

The Poster will be graded according to the following criteria:

  • Ability to summarise your essay in a clear and concise way
  • Demonstrate understanding of the mechanisms of colonisation
  • Demonstrate understanding of Indigenous frameworks, methodologies, values and principles
  • Ability to balance information, images maps
  • Creative ability to present information
  • Visual impact of the poster
  • Level of originality and depth of analysis

Full details of the assessment will be provided in Moodle and during workshops.


Worth 30% of the overall grade

The final test will be delivered online and will take place during the exam period.

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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Five online forum activities
  • Online: Moodle Forum Discussion
2. Essay
21 Aug 2020
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Academic poster
16 Oct 2020
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Final test
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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A course readings list has been prepared for this paper and will be available via Moodle. All readings are managed by the university’s online Reading List Talis Aspire system. This means you will not need to purchase a readings book for this course.

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Online Support

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Online support is via the paper management system Moodle. Paper materials will be made available to students via Moodle. Such materials include important announcements and documents (including the paper outline and lecture notes).

PLEASE NOTE there is no University of Waikato requirement that lecture notes, in whatever form, be provided to students via Moodle. Furthermore, the notes made available on Moodle may not be an exact copy of the lecture as presented in class.

Lecture material is also provided via Panopto recordings.

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This paper is held in the B Semester. It has three contact hours weekly, through one lecture and one tutorial. Students are expected to attend all sessions and complete the required readings. If we consider that the ‘normal’ annual load for a BSocSc, or BA is seven papers we can then calculate that on the basis of a 16 week semester (including recess and study periods) the student should spend around 10 hours a week on average working on the paper. This includes attending classes, connecting to Moodle and completing assessed work and readings.

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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: GEOG323

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