1 x 50-minute lecture weekly
1 x 100-minute tutorial weekly
Enrolment not permitted
1 of GEOG3761, INDG3761, INDG8761 has been successfully completed
Assignment(s), Group presentation, Workshop exercises(s)
Topic description

Caring for country is the term many Indigenous Australian people use to describe their connection with and approach to land and sea management. Caring as Country is a term many Indigenous Australians feel better represents their connection to country. The topic Caring as Country: Indigenous Environmental Management aims to develop the capacity of students to engage respectfully, effectively and equitably in cross-cultural collaborations, particularly with Indigenous Australians. The topic presents Indigenous perspectives on caring as country and also encourages students to engage with their own cultural backgrounds to challenge the dominance of Enlightenment thinking in Natural Resource Management (NRM). It engages students in discussion of the continued colonisation of mainstream NRM structures and practices and offers mechanisms to address this. Students are provided with an overview of the contemporary challenges, opportunities and innovations in protected area management, Aboriginal heritage, mining, native title, Indigenous governance, Intellectual property, tourism and international Indigenous contexts.

Educational aims

This topic aims to:

  • Develop the capacity of students to engage effectively, equitably, ethically and respectfully in cross-cultural collaborations
  • Define and discuss some of the differences in worldviews underpinning Indigenous Australian Caring for Country and Western approaches to Natural Resource Management (NRM)
  • Increase the awareness of students of their own cultural perspectives on human-environment relations and challenge them to consider other ways of thinking
  • Make Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in Caring as Country visible
  • Increase awareness of race relations in Australia in the context of 'country' and the challenges facing Indigenous Australians in contemporary Australia
  • Using a range of case studies, introduce students to contemporary debates in which the competing interests of Aboriginal groups and other stakeholders have led to conflict, compromise and innovation
  • Identify and discuss key challenges Indigenous groups face in working collaboratively with NRM practitioners and institutional structures
  • Provide opportunities for students to engage with pedagogical, teaching and learning approaches for working with students about Indigenous issues
  • Provide opportunities for students to develop knowledge, skills and mechanisms for addressing historical injustices and for engaging with Indigenous groups in effective and equitable ways
Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Develop an advanced understanding of the concept of Caring as Country and the importance of this perspective
  2. Develop an advanced understanding of the complexity and influence of cultural assumptions on all sides of cross-cultural engagement
  3. Develop high level communication skills through oral and written assessments
  4. Develop a greater appreciation of the importance of ethical behaviour in cross-cultural engagement
  5. Develop an advanced understanding of power relations and race relations as they occur in NRM
  6. Engage more deeply and effectively in contemporary issues and debates regarding Indigenous Australia
  7. Development to a high level ideas for pedagogical, teaching and learning approaches for working with students about Indigenous issues
  8. Develop advanced skills and knowledge that can be applied to effective cross-cultural engagement

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.