Studies & Degrees in Aboriginal Studies

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Aboriginal Studies is a discipline that is primarily concerned with the culture and history of indigenous people, including their language, arts, literature and traditions. Colleges and universities offering this course would usually include Aboriginal Studies as one of the disciplines belonging to the Department of Anthropology and/or Linguistics. Scholars of this field are all encouraged to look at different concepts from varying perspectives and to regard their own thoughts and experiences from a different point of view. Through this, the program seeks to understand the customs and traditions of indigenous people while keeping a close look on mainstream culture.

The word aboriginal means ‘the first’ and has been used in the past by the English and the Italians to pertain to the people living in a place originally before newcomers or invaders came. In a global basis, Australia can be said to be the home of the aboriginal people because of the fossils that have been found in New South Wales predate evidences of men living in Europe by twelve thousand years. The problem regarding aboriginal culture is that much has been lost not only through the passing of time but also through attempts of colonization and invasion as well. Globalization and societal adaptation also play important roles in the preservation of the culture of the indigenous people.

In the same way that students of folklore seek to record and preserve oral traditions, scholars of Aboriginal studies are tasked with understanding and recording the cultures of indigenous people or aborigines even as they change to accommodate mainstream customs and culture before they get forgotten entirely. Scholars of this particular discipline are usually equipped with logical and creative minds in able to maintain a critical focus on their areas of study.

Aboriginal Studies, like most courses, offer different concentration courses that students could choose from, depending on the aspect of the cultures they want to focus on. Language, tradition and art are several concentration courses a student can choose from. This interdisciplinary program has quite a lot in common with cultural studies in that scholars of Aboriginal Studies focus on the cultural practices of a certain group of people and the meanings that the said people attach to their practices. But while cultural studies focus mainly on the interrelation of economics, the process of production and society, Aboriginal Studies have more to do with the existence of a subculture within a mainstream one and how they interrelate, influence and adapt to each other.

Students of this particular discipline would be expected to spend a lot of time in the field for their research and studies, as with folklorists, since first-hand observations of particular cultures are recommended for accurate studies. Graduates of Aboriginal Studies can seek to continue their research in their respective colleges and universities as instructors or professors. Some may choose to stay in the field, writing their findings for journals and books; while still others may choose to work as policy analysts for project or program administrations.