Place, race, indigeneity and belonging

Richard Martin (University of Queensland)
Cameo Dalley (Deakin University)
David Trigger (University of Queensland)
Napier 208
Start time:
13 December, 2017 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel focuses on issues of belonging, and asks whether the attention to aboriginality in Australian social science has suffocated serious attention to what may constitute a 'non-native' or 'non-indigenous' identity in society and nature.

Long abstract:

Discussions focused on belonging to place, people and nation in British, European, and North American scholarship have frequently focused on race and historically marginalised people, producing rich accounts of structural inequality, racism, and survival. Australian anthropology and related disciplines have paralleled this international trend with a substantial focus on Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders and their distinctively indigenous landed identities. While productive and enabling for research, the attention to aboriginality in post-settler countries like Australia has also constrained the breadth and sophistication of analyses of the broad issues surrounding belonging, race, and identity. One reading of this research trajectory would see a suffocating of serious research attention to what may constitute a 'non-native' or 'non-indigenous' identity in both society and nature. This panel seeks to challenge these constraints, posing questions for anthropology and related disciplines as follows: · Is the concept of 'indigeneity' appropriately restricted to issues of ancestry and aboriginality in post-settler societies? If so, what is the significance of ideas such as 'bloodlines', 'colour' and 'genetics' in determining who inherits indigeneity? · Does the idea of being 'non-indigenous' make sense over generations as countries like Australia diverge from the colonial society of the settler past? · What are the kinds of belonging that emerge from settler-descendants, migrants, recently arrived refugees, and the plethora of other people who make up the contemporary society? · Where does study of 'nativeness' among non-human species fit with scholarship on human indigeneity and belonging? · Do the politics of indigenism confound broader studies of Australian identity, society, and belonging?