Knowledge, discourse and indigenous pedagogy in higher education
: a case study of the Bachelor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Program at the Northern Territory University

  • Mona El-Ayoubi

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    The thesis project explores the complex and contested domains of Indigenous pedagogic discourses in higher education in North Australia through a case study of the Bachelor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (BATSIS) program offered at the Northern Territory University (1991-current). The BATSIS case provides an opportunity to investigate the social, cultural, political and economic inter-relationships impacting on pedagogy which affect ideologies at a macro and at a micro level. The research project examines the complexities of these issues by exploring dominant representations and constructs of indigeneity affecting teaching and learning practices in higher education. The research explores the construction of Indigenous identities and their recontextualisation within institutional and administrative policies and their impact on Indigenous knowledge productions in curriculum. The research critiques culturally and socially represented identities in order to assess the importance of including 'fluid' and 'hybrid' relations of diverse cultural perspectives and experiences in pedagogic practices.

    Discourse analysis has been adopted as the central methodological approach of this case study as it permits the examination of content and contexts. This is achieved through the documentation and analysis of data sources from official course documents as well as from in-depth interviews with participants.

    The central tenet of the thesis is that constructed notions of difference presented in institutional and academic representations are problematic as they reproduce and recontextualise Indigenous knowledge systems. This process impacts on pedagogic practices as it is premised on binary oppositions that hinder the recognition of difference in its multiplicities and its diverse locations of experience. The research explores postcolonial forms of dominant legitimate interpretations and representations that permeate social, pedagogical and administrative practice in North Australian tertiary education. This is done by specifically drawing on the Indigenous knowledges formulated and articulated in the BATSIS program and the pedagogic experience of students and academics. The research project has wider implications to all Indigenous higher education programs in Australian universities as it critiques modes of curriculum production, Indigenous representations and the complexities of Indigenous education and practices.
    Date of AwardAug 2004
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBill Tyler (Supervisor)

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