Indigenous Studies

Indigenous Studies is an exciting interdisciplinary program that offers teaching and learning, and research activities that critically engage with the rich history, knowledge and cultures of Indigenous peoples both in Australia and globally. We ask students to consider how the knowledge and experience of Indigenous peoples might provide new insight and understandings to the complex issues and problems that confront contemporary western societies today.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations as the owners of the land on which we teach and research. We acknowledge Kulin Nations Elders and leaders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge that Kulin Nations Sovereignity of this Country has never been ceded. We acknowledge the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations as the owners of the Parkville campus on which we teach and research.

Smoking ceremony
Smoking ceremony / Indigenous Australian students at the University of Melbourne

Indigenous Studies at Melbourne

Relaunched in 2020 to focus on contemporary issues in ways that relate locally grounded insights to world-wide issues and concerns our program seeks to understand the social, economic and political challenges that confront the world today from the points of view articulated by Indigenous peoples.

As a team of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, we teach Indigenous Studies as a critical engagement of disciplinary knowledges produced by the Academy and challenge the various truth claims it makes in respect of Indigenous peoples. We teach Indigenous Studies for a sustainable future and challenge simplistic understandings of history, culture and race relations in politics, academia and society more broadly.

Globally focused and professionally oriented, we explore the following areas

  • Indigenous Biogeography and Ecology (including fire and water management)
  • Indigenous Languages
  • Indigenous Design and Engineering
  • Indigenous Cultural Heritage
  • Indigenous Creative Writing, Art and New Media
  • Indigeneity and Gender
  • Indigenous Activism
  • Race and whiteness
  • Indigenous Knowledges and Philosophies
  • Indigenous Histories

Our work is built on our growing relationship with the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nations and their Council, on whose lands we research and teach. We are committed to the ongoing development of a respectful, localised agenda of collaborative and Kulin Nations facilitated subjects that showcase on Country experiential learning and shape our growing research activity.

View our staff

More featured research

View a selection of writing from current staff

Study with us

Once marginalised, the critical insights and learnings that Indigenous Studies provides students are now being sought across sectors and industries. Indigenous Studies is well positioned to compliment and bridge skills, capabilities and learnings that span the humanities and social sciences (HASS) and science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Indigenous Studies is also highly complementary to studies in the field of Law and the Health Sciences.


Graduate coursework

Graduate research

As an Indigenous Studies graduate, your qualification will be internationally recognised and transferable, providing vocational and research entry points into a multitude of Indigenous aligned or engaged governmental and non-governmental organisations, private sector corporations and businesses and universities worldwide.

Meet our Indigenous Studies staff

Staff of the Indigenous Studies Program are recognised both nationally and internationally for their teaching and research contributions to the field.  We combine many years of teaching and research experience and draw on both academic and life experience to inform the student learning experience.

Indigenous members of staff represent many First Nations peoples and exemplify the diversity of Indigenous Peoples both nationally and globally.

We also respectfully acknowledge the contributions of the scholars who built this program before us. These include Professor Marcia Langton AO, Inaugural Chair of Indigenous Studies at The University of Melbourne whose work launched the program and helped transform this institution. Mr. Phillip Morrisey, a longstanding former Academic Co-ordinator of this program and Professor Paul Tapsell for strategic review work undertaken while Interim Director.

Profile picture of Barry Judd

Prof Barry Judd

Head of Program; Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous), Professor of Indigenous Studies +61390353374
Profile picture of Cameo Dalley

Dr Cameo Dalley

Lecturer in Indigenous Studies, Teaching Specialist
Profile picture of Odette Kelada

Dr Odette Kelada

Contributing Lecturer in Indigenous Studies; Senior Lecturer In Creative Writing +61383445566
Profile picture of Jeanine Leane

A/Prof Jeanine Leane

Contributing Lecturer in Indigenous Studies; Senior Lecturer In Creative Writing +61383444000
Profile picture of Donna Leslie

A/Prof Donna Leslie

Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies
Profile picture of Vanessa Russ

Dr Vanessa Russ

Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Studies