Critical Public Conversations

The Australian Centre's hugely popular Critical Public Conversations (CPC) series is the Centre's flagship public event offering.

The Critical Public Conversation (CPC) series aims to enrich the university's social, cultural, and intellectual life and beyond by facilitating conversations that explore the challenges at the heart of relations between Indigenous and settler peoples in a respectful and considerate manner. By making explicit the fraught foundations of this relationship and its centrality to the politics of this continent, the series develops capacity for scholarship that is more ethical and academically rigorous.

Each year the presentations are organised around a central theme. Previous themes include:

  • Introducing Critical Public Conversations - Semester one 2020
  • What does success in Indigenous Higher education look like? - Semester two 2020
  • Exploring Indigenous Settler Relations - 2021
  • Undoing Australia - 2022
  • Country, Climate, Colonialism - 2023

Sovereignty and Solidarity: Redefining belonging in so-called Australia

In 2024, the Australian Centre’s Critical Public Conversations series will explore questions of belonging, borders, and place. We investigate how Australia’s founding as a settler colony constrains capacities to welcome refugees to these shores and highlight moments of transnational solidarity - such as the issuing of Aboriginal passports to asylum seekers - that circumvent settler hegemony as evidence of “enduring Indigeneity” (Kauanui, 2016). We draw on Indigenous theorists and activists as well as voices from various racialised, non-white, or non-Anglo migrants and groups in conversation with Indigenous communities and perspectives, to reveal something specific and nuanced about the dynamic and adaptive morphology of settler colonialism as a global project (Piperoglou & Simic, 2022).

We will platform work that counters settler colonialism’s paranoid insistence on binaries, boundaries, and borders, to uncover them as arbitrary and violent technologies of state power. By examining both the spatial politics of settler colonialism and the “geopolitics of Aboriginal sovereignty” (Pugliese, 2015), this series intends to go beyond settler borders and explore the ways more humane international, domestic, and indeed interpersonal relations are bound to justice for First Nations.

Upcoming Critical Public Conversations Webinars