Indigenous Australian studies and higher education

Friday, 28 May 2004
Prof Martin Nakata

In the 2004 Wentworth Lecture, Professor Nakata sought to stimulate thinking within the Indigenous academic community about the way we think about and study Indigenous issues in universities.

In 1959, Mr Bill Wentworth presented his original proposal for a national Institute of Aboriginal Studies. He was motivated, in part, by a concern that the then three anthropology departments in Australian universities were not doing enough to document Aboriginal societies rapidly undergoing transformation.

Indigenous Studies is now a discrete and much expanded field of academic study and inquiry in universities across this nation. So it's timely to examine where we are currently at with ‘Indigenous Studies’ in Australian universities with a view to considering future directions. 

Professor Nakata's aim was not to present an audit of Indigenous Studies, or discuss its structural organisation within universities, or give an historical assessment or critique, but to begin some early discussions on the way the Indigenous academic community approaches Indigenous Studies as scholarly and intellectual activity.