Faculty of Arts


Settler Societies and Indigenous Peoples

Please note: this is archived course information from 2018 for SOCIOL 746.


Settler societies are a particular type of colonial society, in which settlers set out to take over the lands of indigenous peoples. Historically and in the present there have been many settler societies, but in this course we focus on four that share a common British heritage - Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA. Settler colonialism creates specific kinds of relations between settler and indigenous peoples that will be the focus of this course. We will explore the nature of the settler colonial project, consider various indigenous strategies of resistance and survival, and look at the contemporary policies of 'recognition' and 'reconciliation' being enacted by these settler states. The emphasis throughout will be on the links between claims and recognition of indigenous identities and sovereignties.

The course aims to:

  • Develop an understanding of the identity politics of settler societies
  • Introduce students to theories and practices of recognition in settler societies
  • Encourage students to critically engage with and assess these theories and contemporary practices of recognition

When you have completed this course you will:

  • Be able to discuss the problems generated by colonial relations for both indigenous and settler identities
  • Be able to discuss a number of theories of recognition that seek to reconcile indigenous and settler interests
  • Be able to critically assess these theories in relation to indigenous political struggles for survival and self-determination
  • Have a critical understanding of the systems of state recognition and reconciliation operating in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA and the strengths and weaknesses of each
  • Have developed an extensive bibliography of literature in this field
  • Have written a critical research essay on a topic of your choice centring on either one of these countries or one particular theme of recognition politics
  • Be ready to develop your interest in this field into a masters thesis

Availability 2018

Semester 1


Lecturer(s) Dr Avril Bell


A course reader will be provided if required.


SOCIOL 746: 30.0 points

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