MAORI571-21B (NET)

Decolonising Theory and Indigenous Studies

30 Points

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Paper Description

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Decolonising Theory and Indigenous Studies will address some of the significant theoretical ideas that have informed and shaped the field of Decolonising Methodologies, Decoloniality and Critical Indigenous Studies. The emphasis in this course is on understanding "theory" and developing skills and confidence to engage actively with theoretical ideas and debates in the field of Indigenous Studies and then apply these ideas to your own research. Indigenous Studies is an international and transdisciplinary field that exists because Indigenous Peoples exist and that generates knowledge from Indigenous knowledge and from the interrogation and decolonising of other forms of knowledge. Indigenous Studies is committed to the political and intellectual self-determination of Indigenous Peoples. The course will assist you to think and write theoretically, drawing on theories and using them to analyse and structure your argument, interpret research and real world events.
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Paper Structure

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This paper is taught exclusively on line but with regular zoom drop-ins where we meet as a group. It will be extremely helpful for you to also participate in some mini coffee/chocolate groups among yourselves even if you do it virtually. Conversations are a very important way for you to grapple with ideas and readings and help you test your own ideas out loud. These conversations need to be safe to express views and perspectives and work best when everyone participates and supports each other to learn. It is important to come with an open mind as the position you think you have may change as you learn and converse with others. Our ideas are strengthened by being exposed to other ideas. The on line material provides you with a Starter Kit of core and supplemental readings and videos but as you settle on your own topic area then you will need to develop your own individualised reading list. I am also open to having a one-on-one chat by skype or phone or zoom or text or messenger (these will be scheduled at my discretion - please see the note below on weekly Zoom session requirements). The quickest way to contact me for a virtual meeting is by email
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • Identify how the intellectual genealogy of ideas influences the ways we understand the world
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Understand theoretical terms commonly used in Decolonising and Critical Indigenous Studies
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Identify the theoretical ideas that you will apply in your own research
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Draw on the theoretical ideas that inform Decolonising and Critical Indigenous Methodologies to analyse an event
    Linked to the following assessments:
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I enjoy designing assessments that are practical and that I think will be helpful in your learning. I also enjoy marking assessments that are dynamic, creative, and most of all, legible (I place a high value on quality of ideas and an ability to translate tricky concepts into everyday language - let me see you on the page! Write/speak in our own voice). Assessments are an opportunity to solidify your understandings. They also help me understand where you need more support and how well you are coping with the course content. I can adjust our material and address areas of concern as a result of what I see in the assessment tasks. It is very important you submit assessments on time. I would prefer to have an assessment on time that is slightly underdone to having an unexpected late submission. It is therefore, also important, to anticipate and seek an extension earlier and not the day of, or the day before, it is actually due. Please note that when I say something is a HARD deadline, it means that I will not mark work received after that date/time.
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. A Whakapapa of Ideas - a personal intellectual genealogy
17 Aug 2021
3:59 PM
  • Email: Convenor
2. A Glossary of Wondrous Terms
21 Sep 2021
3:59 PM
  • Email: Convenor
3. A Decolonial reading of an event, idea or thing
19 Oct 2021
4:59 PM
  • Email: Convenor
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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The course will introduce you to a wide range of readings. Some of the readings are listed as REQUIRED (generally, one a week) - we will read these pieces as a group. All other readings are recommended or supplemental. There is no compulsory text although the sources listed in the recommended readings are a great way to cover the range of ideas that Indigenous Studies encompasses.
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Recommended Readings

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A Starter List of Recommended Readings. Some of these references and others more aligned with an individual topic will be available on the Moodle site but other ones will need to be accessed from the Library.


Brayboy, Bryan McKinley Jones. 2006. Toward a Tribal Critical Race Theory in Education. The Urban Review, 37:5. 425-446.

Foucault, M. 1982. The subject and power.Critical Inquiry. 8:4. 777-795.

Henry, Ella, Pene, Hone. 2001. Kaupapa Māori: Locating Indigenous Ontology, Epistemology and Methodology in the Academy. Organization. 8:2. 234-242.

Hokowhitu, Brendan. 2004. Tackling Māori Masculinity: A Colonial Genealogy of Savagery and Sport. The Contemporary Pacific. 16:2. 259-284.

Hokowhitu, Brendan. 2009. Indigenous Existentialism and the Body. Cultural Studies Review. 15:2. 101-118.

Kauanui, J. Kehaulani. 2008. Native Hawaiian decolonization and the politics of gender. American Quarterly. 60:2. 281-287.

Lorde, A. 2003. The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. Feminist postcolonial theory: A reader, 25, p.27.

Mika, Carl. 2012. Overcoming 'Being' in Favour of Knowledge: The Fixing Effect of 'mātauranga. Educational Philosophy and Theory. 44:10. 1080-1092.

Mika, Carl. 2015. Counter-colonial and Philosophical claims: An Indigenous observation of Western Philosophy. Educational Philosophy and Theory. 47:11. 1136-1142.

Million, Dian. 2009. Felt Theory: An Indigenous feminist approach to affect and history.Wicazo Sa Review 24:2. 53-76.

Teresia Teaiwa, 2014. The ancestors we get to choose: White Influences I won't Deny. Theorizing Native Studies, edited by Audra Simpson and Andrea Smith, Duke University Press, 2014: 43-55.

Moreton-Robinson, Aileen. 2006. Towards a new research agenda? Foucault, Whiteness and Indigenous Sovereignty. Journal of Sociology 42:4. 383-395.

Smith, LT, Maxwell, TK, Puke, H., Temara P. 2016. Indigenous knowledge, methodology and mayhem. What is the role of methodology in producing Indigenous Inights? A discussion fro Mātauranga Māori. Knowledge Cultures. 4:3. 131-156.

Tallbear, Kim. 2013. The Genographic Project: The Business of Research & Representation. Native American DNA. University of Minnesota Press. 143-176.

Te Punga Somerville, Alice. 2007. The Lingering War Captain: Māori Texts, Indigenous Contexts. Journal of New Zealand Literature. 24:2. 20-43.

Watene, Krushil. 2016. Valuing Nature: Māori Philosophy and the Capability Approach. Oxford Development Studies. 44:3. 287-296.




AlterNative International Journal of Indigenous Peoples

Cultural Studies Review Vol. 15:2. 2009. Special Issue: Critical Indidgenous Theory.

Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education and Society

International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies

Journal of Critical Ethnic Studies

NAIS Journal of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association


Anderson, Kim. 2016. A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood. Women's Press.Toronto.

Barker: J. 2011. Native Acts: Law, Recognition, and cultural authenticity. Duke University Press.

Barker, Joanne. 2017. Critically Sovereign: Indigenous Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies. Duke University Press. Durham.

Driskill, QL, Finley, Chris, Gilley, Brian Joseph, Morgensen, Scott Lauria. (Editors) 2011. Queer Indigenous Studies: Critical Interventions in Theory, Politics and Literature. University of Arizona Press.Tuscon.

Freire, Paulo. 1996 revised. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Continuum. New York.

Foucault, M. 2013. Archaeology of Knowledge. Routledge. New York.

Grande, Sandy. 2004. Red Pedagogy Native American Social and Political Thought. Rowan and Litllefield, Lanham.

Maracle, Lee. 1988. I am Woman A Native Perspective on Sociology and Feminism. Press Gang Pubishers, Vancouver.

Mignolo, Walter and Walsh, Catherine E. 2018. On Decoloniality: Concepts, Analytics, Praxis. Duke University Press. Durham.

Moreton Robinson, Aileen, (Editor) 2016. Critical Indigenous Studies: Engegaments in First World Locations. University of Arizona Press.Tuscon.

Simpson, Audra., Smith, Andrea. 2014. Theorizing Native Studies. Duke University Press. Durham North Carolina.

Womack, Craig S., Justice, Daniel Heath, Teuton, Christopher, B. 2008. Reasoning Together: The Native Critics Collective. University of Oklahoma Press. Norman.

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Other Resources

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Refer to the Moodle site. Note: Supplemental articles will be provided.
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Online Support

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The Moodle site will have a starter kit of readings and video material. I am available by skype or zoom. For technology support this is available via the Moodle site.
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This paper requires a workload of 300 hours an average of 20 hours a week over a 15 week period consisting of time to work through Moodle resources, Reading time, Assignment and Writing times, Group Conversations as well as our on-line sessions.

Weekly hoursPaper hours
Zoom sessions1 hour a week13
Small conversation groups4 x 1 hour each4
One on one session with Lectureras arranged1
Readings, Moodle resources8 hours x 14 weeks
Independent Research6 hours on average90
Assignments5/6 hours on average80
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: TIKA560 and MAOR571

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