Dismantling settler futures

The Australian Centre thanks Ashley Anderson for the careful and considerate revision of provided captions.

Webinar summary and key themes

This webinar is the second in the Australian Centre's 2022 Critical Public Conversations series: Undoing Australia.

In previous work together, we identify settler colonial technologies of temporality operating through Australian Indigenous policy, and argue that often unacknowledged stories of the colonial future sustain the settler project. In this discussion, we explore the relationship between what Tuck and Yang (2012) have called settler futurity, and the violence produced by a settler order permanently invested in securing an inherently fragile claim to sovereign legitimacy. As white colonisers simultaneously complicit in and seeking to challenge the Australian racial-colonial project, we consider how European understandings of sovereignty shape settler temporalities and inflect our commitments to apparently ‘decolonising’ agendas at the level of political orders, settler political and academic institutions, and subjectivities. We discuss the implications of this for our own political investments and responsibilities, and reflect on what this might mean for our models of solidarity. How might settler anti-colonial praxis engage the here and now – and begin to more effectively refuse settler futures?


Dr Alissa Macoun is a lecturer in the School of Justice at Queensland University of Technology. Alissa is a white woman interested in the politics of race and contemporary colonialism and, in particular, the ways in which race is deployed in Australia to entrench colonial relations of rule.. Alissa's work draws on scholarship from public policy, political theory, settler colonial studies, sociology, critical race and critical Indigenous studies. Alissa is also a Chief Investigator on an Australian Research Council Discovery Indigenous Grant focused on Building an Indigenist Health Humanities. She is a Director of the Institute for Collaborative Race Research.

Dr Elizabeth Strakosch is a senior lecturer in public policy and governance at the University of Queensland, and her work focuses on Indigenous policy, colonialism, political relationships, bureaucracy and new public management. Her research explores the connections between political relationships and policy systems in Australia and other settler contexts. contexts. Elizabeth is a non-Indigenous scholar who aims to carry out politically located research that respects Indigenous sovereignty.

Elizabeth is currently working with colleagues at the University of Melbourne on the ARC project Revitalising Indigenous-State Relations, and developing a comparative study of Australian and US Indigenous policy relationships.

Together Alissa and Elizabeth have published four articles including:

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