(P24)
Thinking about decolonising practice
Location The Cairns Institute, D3-059
Date and Start Time 06 Dec, 2018 at 09:00
Sessions 1

Convenors

  • Mardi Reardon-Smith (University of Sydney) email
  • Suzanne Ingram (University of Sydney) email

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Short abstract

This roundtable will explore what decolonising practice means for early career anthropological researchers, and particularly PhD students, working in Indigenous Australia.

Long abstract

What does decolonising practice mean for early career anthropological researchers in Australia? This roundtable is designed for PhD students to consider questions about the ethics, practice, relevance and vitality of anthropology in relation to their own research projects in Indigenous Australia. Each speaker will reflect for 5-10 minutes on the receptions that anthropology, and they as practitioners, have received in their respective fields. We already have perspectives from New South Wales, Cape York Peninsula and the Pilbara, and invite others to join us. Reflections will be followed by discussion of the implications of critiques of anthropological practices: the possibilities for new kinds of research this presents us with as people who are starting careers as anthropologists in Indigenous Australia, as well as opportunities for the discipline. We invite people to send a 100 word abstract if they would like to present on the panel.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Entering a research-saturated space: beginning ethnographic research as a PhD student in Cape York Peninsula

Author: Mardi Reardon-Smith (University of Sydney) email
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Short abstract

Given the legacy of anthropological research in Cape York Peninsula, most residents have engaged with research in some form. This paper is a mid-fieldwork reflection on how a variety of people have responded to the idea of anthropological research on intercultural land relations in Cape York.

Long abstract

The Aboriginal population of Cape York Peninsula has attracted significant anthropological interest since the late 19th century. Today, a large proportion of Cape York has been determined as Aboriginal land and is subject to complex management agreements involving multiple tenure-types, levels of government and stakeholders. These structures have precipitated the creation of new kinds of relationships between Aboriginal traditional owners, National Parks and pastoralists. My research investigates how a variety of Cape York residents relate to land and how this is manifested in their practical connections to land. Given Cape York's status as a site of significant anthropological and scientific research, this has entailed entering a field in which most residents have engaged with researchers in some capacity and 'research' is a charged word.

As such, commencing ethnographic research in this region has meant grappling with a variety of expectations around what anthropology is, what it can achieve and who ought to be the subject of anthropological research. This paper questions the impacts of anthropological and scientific research and how an inexperienced researcher such as myself should define her 'role' in a situation where anthropological research has been a part of the social landscape for a considerable time.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.