The Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration acknowledge the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung Peoples of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the unceded land on which the University stands and respectfully recognise Elders past and present.
About the collaboration
The ISRC is a multi-disciplinary research unit devoted to exploring the challenges that lie at the heart of relations between Indigenous and settler Australians.
In the wake of government rejection of the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart (270kb pdf), the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration (ISRC) looks to expand public and official understanding of these challenges. We work in partnership with a range of Indigenous and non-Indigenous organisations in Australia, using our networks and expertise to explore what might inform, shape and give life to more just relations between Indigenous and settler peoples.
Our focus on relationality is a deliberate move away from a critical interrogation of settler colonialism’s impact upon Indigenous peoples, or scholarship which speaks back to the settler state. Rather, our intention is to contrast and augment these approaches through an exploration of the social, legal and political conditions though which relations between Indigenous and settler peoples manifest.
The collaboration is comprised of a core research team and a network of established scholars from a wide range of disciplines. Together, the ISRC undertake projects, produce publications, as well as host and facilitate public and institutional events and workshops, all of which engage with the challenges of Indigenous-settler relations.
We are currently guided by three research priorities:
- Indigenous Futures
- Economic Sovereignty
If you are interested in finding out more, making use of our research services, or proposing a partnership project with us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to our fortnightly newsletter and stay up to date with the ISRC news, events and activities. Please enter your details on the subscription form.
Guided by a place-based ethic, the ISRC is committed to developing the University’s relationship with Wurundjeri. To find out more about the Wurundjeri peoples, please visit the Wurundjeri Tribe Council website.
Image credit: Nick D. The Australian Aboriginal Flag, Torres Strait Islander Flag and the Australian flag being flown outside Parliament House to mark NAIDOC week. Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
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How can Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples assume a more respected and influential public voice in Australia's social and political life?
The collaboration examines the ways in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are able to speak and be heard in Australia. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as individuals and communities, must navigate Australia's turbulent history of repeatedly creating and disbanding representative bodies to influence policy and government, as well as frequent negative representations of Indigenous life in the media and popular culture. We explore efforts to amplify the public voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and seek to better understand the transformative potential of this voice upon Australia's social and political life.
How can structural reform in the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Australian state and its peoples be achieved?
The collaboration examines possibilities for structural transformation. The Uluru Statement makes it clear that urgent structural reform is needed to reshape current relations between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the Australian state, its peoples and institutions. Our research on this issue explores the challenges and possibilities of treaties and other forms of agreement-making in Australia, and seeks to theorise new possibilities for structural transformation.
How might an enriched understanding of our shared and contested histories shape contemporary Indigenous-settler relations?
Many truths about Australia's history remain hidden. There is a belief and faith - articulated in the Uluru Statement and elsewhere - that uncovering the truths of this history will have a transformative effect on Indigenous-settler relations. Decades of effort have gone into educating non-Indigenous people about Australia's colonial past, but there is little evidence that this work has produced the broad-based political will for change that might once have been imagined. The collaboration adopts multiple disciplinary perspectives to understand the ways in which truth-telling and history might successfully inform the transformation of Indigenous-settler relations, and to better understand the reasons why it has failed to do so to date.
The Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration (IRSC) brings together scholars who are interested in examining contemporary Indigenous affairs through questions of relationality. The ISRC utilises the expertise of each of its members to present a unique and nuanced perspective on matters concerning Indigenous Settler Relations.
Our primary work focuses on the following four areas:
- Outreach and knowledge translation
- Promoting institutional transformation
The collaboration includes members from the following disciplines:
- Cultural Studies
- Development Studies
- Media, including Journalism
- Political Science
For the next nine weeks, visiting scholar Rebecca Hume will be with us here at the ISRC, all the way from Ryerson University in Toronto.News
In an extract from her book, Sarah Maddison argues that the Australian democratic ideal does little to improve Indigenous lives.THE GUARDIAN
Junior sports clubs in Australia have policies in place for handling racial taunting and vilification, but punishments are rarely enforced. Karen Farqharson, Ramon Spaaij and Ruth Jeanes for the Conversation.THE CONVERSATION
The future lies not in better policy, or even a new government, but in the exciting resurgence of Indigenous nationhood. Sarah Maddison for the Conversation.THE CONVERSATION
Listen to co-directors Sana Nakata and Sarah Maddison discuss Indigenous-settler relations.RADIO
In an election that had the highest number of enrolled eligible voters in history it seems we have affirmation that we live in a country as uncertain of its future as ever. Sana Nakata for IndigenousX.INDIGENOUSX
From March 11 - March 18 2019, Dr Nakata hosted the rotating IndigenousX Twitter handle.News
Following the deaths of an alarming number Indigenous young people earlier this year, Australian leaders were urged to declare a ‘national crisis'. Julia Hurst for the Conversation.THE CONVERSATION
Indigenous relations in Australia have come a long way, but as we celebrate NAIDOC Week, it’s clear there is still a long and uncomfortable way to go. Jacynta Krakouer explores this year's theme.PURSUIT
Professor Sarah Maddison offers a simple metaphor to help us understand the impact of colonialism and the potential benefits of a treaty.ABC
Associate Professor Sarah Maddison
Sarah Maddison is Professor of Politics in the School of Social and Political Sciences, and co-Director of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration. She is also Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts. Sarah is particularly interested in work that helps reconceptualise political relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Australian settler state, including critical examinations of a range of relevant public policies. She has published widely in international journals and is the author or editor of nine books including, most recently, The Colonial Fantasy: Why white Australia can’t solve black problems. Her other books in the field include The Limits of Settler Colonial Reconciliation (2016), Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation (2015), Beyond White Guilt (2011), Unsettling the Settler State(2011), and Black Politics (2009). Sarah has led numerous research projects and was an Australian Research Council Future Fellow for 2011-14, undertaking a project that examined reconciliation in Australia, South Africa, Northern Ireland, and Guatemala.
Dr Sana Nakata
Dr Sana Nakata is Lecturer in Political Science and co-Director of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration. Trained as a lawyer and political theorist, her research is centred upon developing an approach for thinking politically about childhood in ways that improve the capacity of adult decision-makers to act in their interests. Her current project looks at representations of children in Australian political controversies, with particular focus upon Indigenous Australian children and child asylum seekers. She is the author of Childhood Citizenship, Governance and Policy (2015), and along with co-director Sarah Maddison, edits the Springer book series: Indigenous Settler Relations in Australia and the World.
- Associate Professor Jennifer Balint
Jennifer Balint is Associate Professor in Socio-Legal Studies and is currently Head of Discipline, Criminology. Her research expertise is in the area of state crime, genocide and access to justice, with a focus on the constitutive function of law in societies and transitional justice. Her monograph, Genocide, State Crime and the Law. In the Name of the State, is a legal and socio-political analysis of the capacity of law to address genocide and other forms of state crime, law's relationship to reconciliation, and the role of law in the perpetration of these crimes. She co-established the Minutes of Evidence project, a collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers, education experts, performance artists, community members, government and community organisations that aims to spark public conversations about structural justice and how understanding the relationship between the colonial past and the present can bring about just futures. For more information please see the Minutes of Evidence project website.
- Dr Ashley Barnwell
Dr Ashley Barnwell is the Ashworth Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences. Her work focuses on sociological aspects of emotion, memory, and narrative, and is anchored in the sociology of the family. In addition to more traditional qualitative approaches, she is interested in the role of life writing, literature, personal archives, and oral history in sociological research. Ashley is working on two current projects. The first is a study of how contemporary Australian novelists, such as Kate Grenville and Kim Scott, are using their own family histories to deal with social questions of intergenerational trauma and historical responsibility. This will be published as a book, Reckoning with the Past: Family Historiographies in Postcolonial Australian Literature (with Joe Cummins, Routledge 2019). Her other project, 'Family Secrets, National Silences', is a qualitative study of intergenerational family secrets in settler colonial Australia.
- Dr Kat Ellinghaus
Dr Kat Ellinghaus is a Hansen Lecturer in History in the School of Philosophical and Historical Studies. She is the author of Taking Assimilation to Heart: Marriages of White Women and Indigenous Men in the United States and Australia, 1887-1937 (University of Nebraska Press, 2006) and Blood Will Tell: Native Americans and Assimilation Policy (University of Nebraska Press, 2017). In 2014 she was awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant to write a history of Aboriginal exemption policies in Australia. Kat writes and researches in the areas of settler colonial history, transnational and comparative history, assimilation policies and the social and cultural history of the United States and Australia.
- Associate Professor Julie Evans
Julie Evans is an affiliate of the Indigenous Settlers Research Collaboration. Her work explores the significance of western law's relation to Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples from the late 15th century to the present with a view to fostering more lawful ways forward. She was Lead Chief Investigator (CI) on the 'Minutes of Evidence project: Promoting new and collaborative ways of understanding Australia's past and engaging with structural justice' and is currently joint CI of 'Indigenous leaders: lawful relations from encounter to treaty' (Lead CI Mark McMillan, RMIT). Her books include Sovereignty: Frontiers of Possibility (2013, co-editors Ann Genovese, Alexander Reilly, Patrick Wolfe) and Edward, Eyre, Race, and Colonial Governance (2005). Keeping Hold of Justice: Encounters Between Law and Colonialism is under review with University of Michigan Press (co-authors Jennifer Balint, Mark McMillan, Nesam McMillan).
- Professor Karen Farquharson
Karen Farquharson is Professor of Sociology and Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at The University of Melbourne. Her research explores the sociology of racism, migration, media and sport from a critical race theory perspective. Recent research projects include: Participation versus performance: Managing (dis)ability, gender and cultural diversity in junior sport, the AuSud Media Project, and the Koorie Energy Efficiency Project (KEEP). Her most recent books are the co-edited collections Australian Media and the Politics of Belonging (2018) and Relating Worlds of Racism: Dehumanisation, Belonging, and the Normativity of European Whiteness (2018).
- Professor Kirsty Gover
Professor Kirsty Gover's research addresses the law, policy, and political theory of Indigenous rights and law. She is interested in the transformative promise of Indigenous legal theory, and in its importance in settler-state political theory and international law. Professor Gover is the author of Tribal Constitutionalism: States, Tribes and the Governance of Membership (Oxford University Press, 2011) and is working on a book entitled When Tribalism Meets Liberalism: Political Theory and International Law (Oxford University Press), examining the ways in which Indigenous self-governance influences the development of international law. She is the law school’s Associate Dean (Indigenous Recognition) and Chair of the MLS Reconciliation and Recognition Committee.
- Associate Professor Chris Healy
Chris Healy teaches Cultural Studies at The University of Melbourne. He has worked at the University of Technology, Sydney, and held visiting fellowships at the Humanities Research Centre, ANU, the Centre for Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz and was a long-time External Academic Advisor in the Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong. His research work on social memory has considered relationships between Indigenous history and settler-colonialism in Australia, and some of the predicaments of postcolonial culture more generally. His first efforts in this field appeared in the UK-based journal, Oral History (1991) with latter essays in Postcolonial Studies (1999), Oxford Companion to Aboriginal Art and Culture (2000), Body Trade: captivity, cannibalism and colonialism in the Pacific (2001), Culture in Australia: policies, publics and programs (2001), ACH: The Journal of the History of Culture in Australia (2007). That period of work culminated in his 2008 monograph, Forgetting Aborigines, UNSW Press.
- Julia Hurst
Julia Hurst has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Indigenous and Development Studies and a Masters of Urban Planning. She has worked as a social and cultural planner and social researcher. Her interests lie in storytelling, social justice and the arts, and she has successfully merged these projects over the years on main stage and community theatre, arts and cultural projects in Melbourne, Geelong and Western Sydney. She was a member of the ARC Linkage Project (USyd and ANU) Deepening Histories of Place: Exploring Indigenous Landscapes of National and International Significance and during this project she directed and authored an enhanced e-book entitled At the Heart of it: Place stories across Darug and Gundungurra Lands: A downloadable history. She is now completing her PhD: 'Re-imagining identities: Aboriginal people on Darug and Gundungurra lands' at ANU.
- Dr Elise Klein
Elise Klein is a Lecturer of Development Studies, School of Social and Political Sciences, The University of Melbourne. She currently leads a research project examining Cashless Debit Card trial in the East Kimberley and works on a grant from the British Academy's International Challenges Fund on Therapeutic culture and the digital revolution. Dr Klein was a contributor to the United Nations Secretary General's High-Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment. Her new book is Developing Minds: Neoliberalism, Psychology and Power (Routledge, 2017). Dr Klein is co-editing two books in 2018 Postdevelopment in Practice (Routledge) and Implementing a Basic Income in Australia: Pathways Forward (Palgrave McMillan).
- Jacynta Krakouer
Jacynta Krakouer (BSc, MSW, MSP Melb) is a Noongar Aboriginal lecturer and researcher in the Department of Social Work at The University of Melbourne. Currently undertaking her PhD with the Department, Jacynta's teaching and research expertise centres on child and family welfare, with a particular focus on Indigenous Australians. Her PhD explores Indigenous understandings of cultural connection for Indigenous Australian children in out of home care in Victoria.
- Professor Zoë Laidlaw
Zoë Laidlaw joined the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at The University of Melbourne in September 2018 as a professorial fellow, having previously worked at Royal Holloway University of London (2005-2018) and the University of Sheffield (2001-2005). Her research concerns Britain's empire and colonies in the early and mid-nineteenth century, with a particular focus on imperial networks, humanitarianism, governance, colonial knowledge, settler societies, human rights, Indigenous protection and Indigenous dispossession. She has worked on the colonial histories of Australia, British North America, South Africa, New Zealand, India and the Caribbean. Zoë is also interested in the connections between colonial histories and present-day attempts at conciliation between colonising and colonised populations.
- Professor Adrian Little
Adrian Little is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Melbourne. He has published six monographs including, most recently, Enduring Conflict: Challenging the Signature of Peace and Democracy (Bloomsbury, 2014) as well as many journal articles and book chapters. In 2013, along with Mark McMillan, Paul Muldoon, Juliet Rogers, Erik Doxtader and Andrew Schaap, he received an ARC Discovery Grant for the project 'Resistance, Recognition and Reconciliation in South Africa and Northern Ireland - Lessons for Australia'. Adrian is currently Pro Vice Chancellor International at the university and has responsibility for developing the international component of the university's Reconciliation Action Plan.
- Dr Nikki Moodie
Dr Nikki Moodie is a Gomeroi (Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay) woman, born in Gunnedah NSW. She is a Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Studies in the Faculty of Arts at The University of Melbourne. Prior to her move to the Faculty of Arts, Nikki held positions as the Academic Convenor of the Hallmark Indigenous Research Initiative, Research Fellow in Indigenous Research, and Lecturer in Indigenous Education. In 2017, Nikki received the Betty Watts Indigenous Researcher Award from the Australian Association for Research in Education. She teaches in the areas of social policy and Indigenous studies, and her main research interests are indigeneity, surveillance and education, focusing on social networks, the governance of Indigenous policy and data production. Nikki is an Associate Editor of Higher Education and Research Development, and Editor of Critical Race and Whiteness Studies.
- Dr David Nolan
David Nolan is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communication and Deputy Director of the Centre for Advancing Journalism in the School of Culture and Communication. David's work engages with processes of change in journalism, with a particular focus on their implications for the politics of race, inclusion and belonging, as well as humanitarian relations and engagement with distant 'others'. From 2011-2014 he was lead Chief Investigator (CI) on the AuSud Media Project, an ARC Linkage research project and media intervention conducted in partnership with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES). He is co-editor (with Karen Farquharson and Timothy Marjoribanks) of Australian Media and the Politics of Belonging (Anthem Press, 2018) and his work has been published in numerous leading journals, including Journal of Intercultural Studies, Journalism, Patterns of Prejudice, Media, Culture and Society and Journalism Studies.
- Associate Professor Juliet Rogers
Juliet Rogers is an Associate Professor in Criminology in the School of Political Sciences at The University of Melbourne. She specialises in the study of trauma, specifically its psychological, legal and political manifestations and effects. From 2012-16 she was an Australian Research Council DECRA fellow examining the 'Quality of Remorse' after periods of political and military conflict in Australia, Northern Ireland and South Africa. Prior to her academic career she was a youth worker, manager and trauma therapist. She holds an ongoing Visiting Fellowship at the University of Bologna, TRaMe center for the study of trauma. She published widely in the field of law, trauma and conflict. In 2013 she published Law's Cut on the Body of Human Rights: Female Circumcision, Torture and Sacred Flesh and is finalizing a monograph on The Quality of Remorse.
- Non-Indigenous Pathways to Reconciliation in Australia
- The Burden of Freedom? Aboriginal Exemption Policies in Australia
- Travelling Television and Australian Indigenous Film making
- Cashless Debit Card and Settler Economies
- Genealogy of Makarrata
- Urban Aboriginalities
- More than competent
- Representations of Children in Australian Political Controversies
- Indigenous Media
- Family Secrets, National Silences
- Inquiring into Empire: Remaking the British world after 1815
- Assoc. Professor Sarah Maddison (The University of Melbourne)
- Tom Clark (Victoria University)
- Ravi de Costa (York University, Canada)
Many consider the formal reconciliation process in Australia to have been a failure, yet the need for a more effective engagement between Indigenous and other Australians remains pressing. This project examines the Australian experience of reconciliation, asking how the process of reconciliation in Australia can connect to the attitudes of non-Indigenous people in ways that may prompt their engagement with Indigenous needs and aspirations.
This project has undertaken original focus group research to explore non-Indigenous engagement with reconciliation in Australia. It considers ways to transform the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in light of debates about constitutional recognition and renewed called for treaties with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
ARC Discovery Project (2014-2018)
This project was funded for four years under the ARC Discovery Project scheme (2014-2018). It is the first national study of the clauses in Aboriginal Protection Acts which allowed Aborigines to be released from control by the government, also known as exemption policies, and the extraordinary intimate colonial archives that they created. It argued that as well as the painful family dislocations and disruptions to identity that some argue are on par with the Stolen Generations, Aboriginal people’s interactions with exemption could also be stories of agency, negotiation, refusal and activism. A website to be launched in 2018, will provide a sensitive platform for the exchange of information gathered by the project with members of the Indigenous community who were, or whose family members were, impacted by the policy.
Currently in development, Chris Healy's 'Travelling Television' argues that certain kinds of television re-fashioned relations to place and occupation for non-Indigenous Australians in the second half of the twentieth century.
Australian Indigenous Filmmaking: Returning to Country
This is an ongoing research project being carried out by Chris Healy, Therese Davis and Romaine Morton. The work will take the form of a website that goes live in November 2018 and a collaboratively authored book for the University of Edinburgh Press ‘World Cinema’ series that will appear in 2019.
This project examines the Cashless Debit Card trial in the East Kimberley, Western Australia. The Card targets First Nations people disproportionately where 82% in the East Kimberley trial are First Nations. Like other income management programs, the Card aims to restrict cash and purchases to curb alcohol consumption, illegal drug use and gambling. The current study reviews the Cashless Debit Card in the context of current policies managing Indigenous consumption.
The project also examines aspects of the trial in the East Kimberley including its implementation, lack of community engagement, community resistance and effects on money management. Findings thus far indicate a chaotic trial period, as well as a deeply flawed logic, disconnected from the relational poverty experienced by people receiving state benefits. Further, the research team reveal that by targeting First Nations subjectivities with behavioural conditions, state benefits reveal themselves as a contemporary technology of settler colonisation and assimilation.
Adrian Little's work looks to gain a deeper understanding of the Prime Minister's rejection of the Uluru Statement and Referendum Council Report. In particular, Little focuses on the role played by the proposal for an Indigenous voice to parliament in this rejection. Little contends that the Uluru Statement rightfully demanded a three-pronged approach, and that all three are necessary for progress on Indigenous-settler relations. The truth and treaty elements of the proposed Makarrata commission are argued to be just as controversial as the proposal for voice. Little explores truth in a comparative light as a way of clarifying the choices Australia will face in how to institutionalise truth processes. This ranges from the South African attempt to build an institution which saw truth as central to reconciliation, through to Northern Ireland where the pursuit of truth remains deeply controversial twenty years after it was decided that the issues were too raw to form part of the Good Friday Agreement. He has recently published articles on this topic in Political Theory (2019) and the Review of Politics (2018).
- Julia Hurst
This research explores fundamental questions of Australian Aboriginal identity in 21st century Australia. Julia Hurst argues that cultural and political debate about the value of urban Aboriginal identities often serves to disempower Aboriginal voices. Hurst's research will test location bound historical assumptions of Aboriginal belonging along with what are often considered the fixed historical processes of Aboriginal identity making across time. Following the question: 'What is your Indigenous heritage, when your heritage is defined by convincing other people?' Hurst will analyse narratives of urban Aboriginal identity in key locations around Australia, including Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. The differences between these locations will help to shape a multi-site, interdisciplinary analysis of new urban Aboriginal identities under varying cultural, economic and historical conditions.
It has long been assumed that when people know better, people will do better. The current state of affairs for Indigenous peoples around the world suggests that this is not the case. Research has shown that even when individuals know more about the history and social contexts of Indigenous peoples, their views upon Indigenous peoples' rights and political status may not necessarily shift. Cultural Awareness and Competency has become a key institutional process for educating individual employees of their responsibilities toward Indigenous peoples in their professional settings. This research project will explore the paradigm of cultural awareness in education, employment training and policy-making and analyse the ways in which it informs and shapes Indigenous-Settler relations at work and beyond.
Children have figured strongly in Australian political controversies. In twenty-first century Australia, some of the most controversial political debates have centred on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and child asylum seekers at Australia's borders. The project undertakes an extensive analysis of representative claims made about both groups of children to demonstrate the ways in which political debates are transformed by the appearance of children. By examining representative claims about children and the impact of these claims on political decisions, this project engages with emerging literature on the relationship between democratic theories of representation and the conduct of 'real politics' to develop a political account of childhood and explore its implications for policy-making.
David Nolan is currently leading a research project that explores the changing ecology of Indigenous news production and representation, following the emergence of a burgeoning sector of Indigenous digital media initiatives. These initiatives have taken advantage of the affordances to digital platforms to develop new outlets for Indigenous self-expression, representation and exchange, and have gained an increasing level of prominence in mainstream media, both through specific tactical interventions and longer term partnerships with mainstream news organisations. In collaboration with Indigenous journalist Jack Latimore, this research is exploring the degree to which new digital tools, including an app developed by Latimore for the Centre for Advancing Journalism, have the potential to facilitate effective strategies for improving the range and quality of Indigenous news representation in Australia’s wider news ecology.
This project aims to investigate the inherited family secrets, stories, and memories that inform Australians' understandings of colonial history. The histories told in schools and museums shape national identity and impact Indigenous-settler relations. But little is known about the histories told or concealed within families, and how they drive people's political views and promote or stymie national truth-telling. This research intends to benefit individuals and communities working toward national reckoning via creating knowledge about how viewpoints are created, fixed, and altered over time. It also aims to show how educators can use family histories to teach people about intergenerational inequalities, cultural traumas, and hidden diversities.
Zoë Laidlaw is a Chief Investigator on ARC Discovery Project DP180100537 Inquiring into Empire: remaking the British world after 1815 (2018-2022). Inquiring into Empire examines the pivotal role of commissions of inquiry in reforming law throughout the British Empire from 1815–1840. Using traditional methods and digital tools, the project investigates the design, instantiation and impact of inquiry on colonial law, the imperial constitution and the mechanisms of imperial governance across the empire. Its outcomes include enhancement of our understanding of law reform, the historical functions of commissions of inquiry, and the legacy of British imperial rule throughout the world. Chief investigators are Lisa Ford (UNSW); Kirsten McKenzie (Sydney); David Roberts (UNE); Zoë Laidlaw (Melbourne); and Stephen Doherty (UNSW). Partner Investigators are Alan Lester (Sussex); Paul Halliday (Virginia); and Philip Stern (Duke).
Zoë Laidlaw is also Principal Investigator for three UK AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Partnership Training Grants in collaboration with Dr Gaye Sculthorpe, Curator of Oceania, The British Museum. These grants have funded three PhD studentships exploring the little-known and under-utilised Australian collections of The British Museum and other UK-based collections of Indigenous Australian objects and images. 'The Royal Navy and Colonial Collecting, 1820-1870’ (2014-17) was completed by Daniel Simpson (Royal Holloway University of London); ‘Picturing the Antipodes: race, image and empire in 19th-century Britain’ (2016-2020) is being completed by Mary McMahon (RHUL); and Nicola Froggatt (RHUL) is working on ‘British Ethnographic Collecting in Western Australia’ (2017-2021).
The Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration (ISRC) is continually looking to develop new relationships and build on its knowledge base through partnership, contract and other research.
In the collaboration there is a multidisciplinary team of leading researchers that are dedicated to exploring issues relating to Indigenous Settler Relations.
The collaboration is open to both short-term and long-term partnerships, and are adaptable to a wide variety research needs. If you believe the ISRC would be a suitable fit for your initiative, research project or partnership then we encourage you to email the collaboration with your enquiry along with relevant contact details.
A summary of the publications produced by collaborators can be seen on the Publications web page
Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) students
The collaboration would love to hear from current or prospective Doctor of Philosophy (Arts) students interested in joining Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration. The collaboration can be contacted via our Contact web page for support with:
- Identifying potential supervisors
- Support with the PhD application process
- Engaged research support for existing PhD students
- Networking opportunities with collaborators
We encourage students at all levels to subscribe to our mailing list to hear of other opportunities to get involved with the collaboration.
Maddison, S. The Colonial Fantasy: Why white Australia can't solve black problems. Allen & Unwin, 2019.
Australia is wreaking devastation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Whatever the policy, government has done little to improve the quality of life of Indigenous people. In far too many instances, interaction with governments has only made Indigenous lives worse. Despite this, many Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders and commentators still believe that working with the state is the only viable option. The result is constant churn and reinvention in Indigenous affairs, as politicians battle over the 'right' approach to solving Indigenous problems.
The Colonial Fantasy considers why Australia persists in the face of such obvious failure. It argues that white Australia can't solve black problems because white Australia is the problem, and calls for a radical restructuring of the relationship between black and white Australia.
Klein, E. and Morreo, C. (eds.,). Post Development in Practice. Routledge, 2019.
Laidlaw, Z. Protecting Humanity: British Colonialism, Imperial Humanitarianism and the Aborigines’ Protection Society, c. 1830-1870 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Critical Perspectives on Empire series, forthcoming 2019).
Klein, E., Mays and Dunlop (eds.,). Implementing A Basic Income in Australia: Pathways Forward. Palgrave MacMillan, London (in press), 2018
Morrissey, Philip and Healy, Chris (eds.,). Reading the Country: 30 Years On. UTS ePress, 2018
Steeped in story-telling and endlessly curious, Reading the Country: An Introduction to Nomadology (1984) was the product of Paddy Roe, Stephen Muecke and Krim Benterrak experimenting with what it might be like to think together about country. Their book has since become one of the great twentieth-century works of intercultural dialogue.
Reading the Country: 30 Years On is a celebration of that book - examining not only its place and time of creation but also its movement across social, philosophical and political surfaces, seeping into the way we look and learn and teach about how people are, or could be, part of country.
Ellinghaus, K. Blood Will Tell: Native Americans and Assimilation Policy. University of Nebraska Press, 2017
Blood Will Tell reveals the underlying centrality of "blood" that shaped official ideas about who was eligible to be defined as Indian by the General Allotment Act in the United States. Katherine Ellinghaus traces the idea of blood quantum and how the concept came to dominate Native identity and national status between 1887 and 1934 and how related exclusionary policies functioned to dispossess Native people of their land. The U.S. government’s unspoken assumption at the time was that Natives of mixed descent were undeserving of tribal status and benefits, notwithstanding that Native Americans of mixed descent played crucial roles in the national implementation of allotment policy.
The role of blood quantum is integral to understanding how Native Americans came to be one of the most disadvantaged groups in the United States, and it remains a significant part of present-day debates about Indian identity and tribal membership. Blood Will Tell is an important and timely contribution to current political and scholarly debates.
Klein, E. Developing Minds: Psychology, neoliberalism and power. Routledge, 2017
Development policy makers and practitioners are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their ability to target 'development' interventions and the psychological domain is now a specific frontier of their interventional focus. This landmark study considers the problematic relationship between development and psychology, tracing the deployment of psychological knowledge in the production/reproduction of power relations within the context of neoliberal development policy and intervention. It examines knowledge production and implementation by actors of development policy such as the World Bank and the neo-colonial state - and ends by examining the proposition of a critical psychology for more emancipatory forms of development.
The role of psychology in development studies remains a relatively unexplored area, with limited scholarship available. This important book aims to fill that gap by using critical psychology perspectives to explore the focus of the psychological domain of agency in development interventions. It will be essential reading for students, researchers, and policy makers from fields including critical psychology, social psychology, development studies and anthropology.
Klein, E. Reading Amartya Sen’s Inequality Re-examined. Routledge, 2017
Amartya Sen's Inequality Re-examined is a seminal text setting out a theory to evaluate social arrangements and inequality. By asking the question, 'equality of what'?, Sen shows that (in)equality should be assessed as human freedom; for people to have the ability to pursue and achieve goals they value or have reason to value.
The text lays out the fundamental ideas to Amartya Sen's Capability Approach. This approach is celebrated in diverse academic disciplines because of its specific contribution towards the improvement to debates on inequality beyond economic deprivation and utility measures. Furthermore, the arguments put forward by Sen in Inequality Re-examined has had many practical applications throughout policy circles including the Human Development Index, the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Measure, the compilation of lists of capabilities and drawing further attention to human agency and democracy. Amartya Sen won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1998 for his contribution to welfare economics; the core arguments of this work is found in this book.
Tehan, M., Godden, L., Young, M., and Gover, K. The Impact of Climate Change Mitigation on Indigenous and Forest Communities: International, National and Local Law Perspectives on REDD+. Cambridge University Press, 2017
The international legal framework for valuing the carbon stored in forests, known as 'Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation' (REDD+), will have a major impact on indigenous peoples and forest communities. The REDD+ regime contains many assumptions about the identity, tenure and rights of indigenous and local communities who inhabit, use or claim rights to forested lands. The authors bring together expert analysis of public international law, climate change treaties, property law, human rights and indigenous customary land tenure to provide a systemic account of the laws governing forest carbon sequestration and their interaction. Their work covers recent developments in climate change law, including the Agreement from the Conference of the Parties in Paris that came into force in 2016. The Impact of Climate Change Mitigation on Indigenous and Forest Communities is a rich and much-needed new contribution to contemporary understanding of this topic.
Maddison, S., Clark, T., and de Costa, R. (eds.,). The Limits of Settler Colonial Reconciliation: Non-Indigenous People and the Responsibility to Engage. Springer, 2016
This book investigates whether and how reconciliation in Australia and other settler colonial societies might connect to the attitudes of non-Indigenous people in ways that promote a deeper engagement with Indigenous needs and aspirations. It explores concepts and practices of reconciliation, considering the structural and attitudinal limits to such efforts in settler colonial countries. Bringing together contributions by the world's leading experts on settler colonialism and the politics of reconciliation, it complements current research approaches to the problems of responsibility and engagement between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.
Maddison, S. Conflict transformation and reconciliation: Multi-level challenges in deeply divided societies. Routledge, 2015
This book examines approaches to reconciliation and peacebuilding in settler colonial, post-conflict, and divided societies. In contrast to current literature, this book provides a broader assessment of reconciliation and conflict transformation by applying a distinctive 'multi-level' approach. The analysis provides a unique intervention in the field, one that significantly complicates received notions of reconciliation and transitional justice, and considers conflict transformation across the constitutional, institutional, and relational levels of society.
Drawing on extensive fieldwork in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Australia, and Guatemala, the work presents an interdisciplinary study of the complex political challenges facing societies attempting to transition either from violence and authoritarianism to peace and democracy, or from colonialism to post-colonialism. Informed by theories of agonistic democracy, the book conceives of reconciliation as a process that is deeply political, and that prioritises the capacity to retain and develop democratic political contest in societies that have, in other ways, been able to resolve their conflicts.
Nakata, S. Childhood Citizenship, Governance and Policy: the politics of becoming adult. Routledge, 2015
Debates about children's rights not only concern those things that children have a right to have and to do but also our broader social and political community, and the moral and political status of the child within it.
This book examines children's rights and citizenship in the USA, UK and Australia and analyses the policy, law and sociology that govern the transition from childhood to adulthood. By examining existing debates on childhood citizenship, the author pursues the claim that childhood is the most heavily governed period of a liberal individual's life, and argues that childhood is an intensely monitored period that involves a 'politics of becoming adult'. Drawing upon case studies from the USA, the UK and Australia, this concept is used to critically analyse debates and policy concerning children's citizenship, criminality, and sexuality. In doing so, the book seeks to uncover what informs and limits how we think about, talk about, and govern children's rights in liberal societies.
Laidlaw, Z. and Lester, A. (eds.,). Indigenous Communities and Settler Colonialism: Land Holding, Loss and Survival in an Interconnected World. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies series, 2015.
The new world created through Anglophone emigration in the 19th century has been much studied. But there have been few accounts of what this meant for the Indigenous populations. This book shows that Indigenous communities tenaciously held land in the midst of dispossession, whilst becoming interconnected through their struggles to do so.
Hurst, J. At the Heart of It... Place Stories Across Darug and Gundungurra Lands: a downloadable history. Canberra: Australian Centre for Indigenous History, Australian National University, 2014. (Ebook)
This is a free enhanced ebook located within the context of Ann McGrath's and Peter Read's ARC Linkage Project (LP100100427) "Deepening Histories of Place: Exploring Indigenous Landscapes of National and International Significance," The Australian National University and Sydney University, 2011-2013.
PhD student Julia Torpey, who interviewed more than thirty Indigenous people about their histories and storytelling, produced it. Some interviews have been selected here to appear in this ebook from the larger collection of filmed oral histories in place, in The Blue Mountains, Western Sydney and Sydney. This collection of films is not representative of a particular community organisation or 'tribe'; it is representative of individual connection to place and history.
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- Moodie, N. "Decolonizing race theory: place, survivance and sovereignty," in Vass, G., Maxwell, J., Rudolph, S. and Gulson, K.N. (eds.,). The Relationality of Race in Education Research. Routledge, 2018, pp. 33-46
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- Maddison, S. and Mills, J. "Settler colonialism and genocide in Australia," in Friedman, J. and Hewitt, W. (eds.,). The history of genocide in cinema: Atrocities on screen. I.B. Tauris, 2017
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- Lester, A. and Laidlaw, Z. "Indigenous Sites and Mobilities: Connected Struggles in the Long Nineteenth Century," in Laidlaw, Z. and Lester, A. (eds.,). Indigenous Communities and Settler Colonialism: Land Holding, Loss and Survival in an Interconnected World. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015, pp. 1-23
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- Gover, K. "Inter-Indigenous Recognition and the Cultural Production of Indigeneity in the Western Settler States," in Webber, Jeremy et al (eds.,). Recognition versus Self-Determination: Dilemmas of Emancipatory Politics. University of British Columbia Press, 2014
- Laidlaw, Z. "Imperial Complicity: Indigenous Dispossession in British History and History Writing," in Hall, Catherine; Draper, Nick and McClelland, Keith (eds.,). Emancipation and the remaking of the British Imperial world. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2014, pp. 131-148
- Laidlaw, Z. "Indigenous Interlocutors: Networks of imperial protest and humanitarianism in the mid-nineteenth century," in Carey, Jane and Lydon, Jane (eds.,). Indigenous Networks: Mobility, Connections and Exchange. New York and London: Routledge, 2014, pp. 114-139
- Maddison, S. "Missionary genocide: Moral illegitimacy in the churches in Australia," in Havea, J. (ed.,). Indigenous Australia and the Unfinished Business of Theology: Cross-cultural Engagement. Palgrave, 2014, pp, 31-46
- Gover, K. "Indigenous jurisdiction as a provocation of settler state political theory: The significance of human boundaries," in Ford, Lisa and Rowse, Tim (eds.,). Between Indigenous and Settler Governance. Routledge, 2013, pp. 187-199
- Gover, K. "Proprietary constitutionalism," in Tushnet, Mark; Fleiner, Thomas and Saunders, Cheryl (eds.,). Routledge Handbook of Constitutional Law. Routledge, 2013
- Nolan, D., Marjoribanks, T., Farquharson, K., and Gawenda, M. "Resources of Belonging: Assessing the Consequences of Media Interventions," in Howley, Kevin (ed.,). Media Interventions. Peter Lagn, 2013, pp. 55-72
- Nolan, D. et al. "The Citizens' Agenda," in Simons, Margaret (ed.,). What's Next in Journalism? Scribe Publications, 2013
- Nakata, S., Maddison, S. “New collaborations in old institutional spaces: setting a new research agenda to transform Indigenous-settler relations” in Australian Journal of Political Science Vol. 54, Issue 3, 2019 pp.407-422.
- Bray, D., & Nakata, S. “The figure of the child in democratic politics” in Contemporary Political Theory, 2019.
- Maddison, S. “Limits of the administration of memory in settler colonial societies: the Australian case” in International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, Vol. 32, Issue 2, 2019, pp. 181-194.
- Vass, G., Lowe, K., Burgess, C., Harrison, N., & Moodie, N. “The possibilities and practicalities of professional learning in support of Indigenous student experiences in schooling: A systematic review” in The Australian Educational Researcher, Vol. 46, Issue 2, 2019, pp. 341-361.
- López López, L., de Wildt, L. & Moodie, N. “I don’t think you’re going to have any aborigines in your world: Minecrafting terra nullius” in British Journal of Sociology of Education, 2019.
- Schulz, S., Vass, G., Moodie, N. & Kennedy, T. "Critical race and whiteness studies: What has been, what might be" in Critical Race and Whiteness Studies, Inaugural Issue, 2019, pp. 1 - 7.
- Barnwell, A. "Hidden Heirlooms: Keeping Family Secrets Across Generations," in Journal of Sociology 2018
- Ellinghaus, K. "The Moment of Release The Ideology of Protection and the Twentieth-Century Assimilation Policies of Exemption and Competency in New South Wales and Oklahoma," in Pacific Historical Review Vol. 87, Issue 1, 2018, pp. 128-149
- Ellinghaus, K. and Twomey, C. "Protection: Global Genealogies, Local Practices," in Pacific Historical Review Vol. 87, Issue 1, 2018, pp. 2-9
- Ellinghaus, K. "You are not really free, you are just turned loose': settler colonialism, survivance and competency at the Osage Agency," in Settler Colonial Studies Vol. 8, Issue 1, 2018, pp. 16-29
- Klein, E. "Economic Rights and a Basic Income," in Griffith Journal on Law and Human Dignity, 2018 (in press)
- Klein, E. "The Cashless Debit Card and Australian Settler Colonialism," in Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 2018,
- Nakata, S. "The infantilization of Indigenous Australians: a problem for democracy," in Griffith Review: first things first Vol. 60, pp. 104-116
- Balint, J, Lasslett, K and Macdonald, K. "Post-Conflict" Reconstruction, the Crimes of the Powerful and Transitional Justice," in State Crime Journal Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 2017, pp. 4-12
- Barnwell, A. "Convict Shame to Convict Chic: Intergenerational Memory and Family Histories," in Memory Studies 2017
- Barnwell, A. and Cummins,J. "Family Historiography in The White Earth," in Journal of Australian Studies Vol. 41, Issue 2, 2017, pp. 156-170
- Barnwell, A. "Locating an Intergenerational Self in Postcolonial Family Histories," in Life Writing Vol. 14, Issue 4: Locating Lives: Papers from the Inaugural Regional IABA Conference, IABA, 2017, pp. 485-493
- Clark, T., de Costa, R. and Maddison, S. "Non-Indigenous Australians and the 'responsibility to engage'?" in Journal of Intercultural Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4, pp. 381-396
- Ellinghaus, K. "George Newkirk Jr.'s Cafe, Competency, and Settler Colonialism," in Journal of the West Vol. 56, No. 4, Fall 2017, pp. 25-35
- Klein, E. "The World Bank on Mind, Behaviour and Society," in Development and Change Vol. 48, Issue 3, 2017, pp. 481-501
- Klein, E. and Altman, J. "Lessons from a basic income program for Indigenous Australians," in Oxford Development Studies Vol. 49, Issue 1, 2017, pp. 1-22
- Klein, E. and Ballon, P. "Rethinking Measures of Psychological Agency: A study on the urban fringe of Bamako," in Journal of Development Studies (Special Issue), 2017, pp. 1-24
- Klein, E. and Mills, C. "Psy-Expertise, therapeutic culture and the new politics of the personal in development," in Third World Quarterly Vol. 38, Issue 9, 2017, pp. 1990-2008
- Little, A. "Fear, hope and disappointment: The politics of reconciliation and the dynamics of conflict transformation," in International Political Science Review Vol. 38, No. 2, 2017, pp. 200-212
- Little, A. and McMillan, M. "Invisibility and the Politics of Reconciliation in Australia: Keeping Conflict in View," in Ethnopolitics Vol. 16, No. 5, 2017, pp. 519-537
- Little, A. and Maddison, S. "Reconciliation, Transformation, Struggle: An Introduction," in International Political Science Review Vol. 38, No.2, 2017, pp. 145-154
- Little, A. and Rogers, J. "The Politics of "Whataboutery": The Problem of Trauma Trumping the Political in Conflictual Societies," in British Journal of Politics and International Relations Vol.19, No. 1, 2017, pp. 172-187
- Maddison, S. "Can we reconcile? Understanding the multi-level challenges of conflict transformation," in International Political Science Review Vol. 38, No. 2, 2017, pp. 155-168
- Moodie, N. and Patrick, R. "Settler grammars and the Australian professional standards for teachers," in Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education Vol. 45, Issue 5, 2017, pp. 439-454
- Nakata, S. "Indigenous Australian Children and the (Re)Making of Nation," in Australian Journal of Public Administration Vol. 76, Issue 4, 2017, pp. 397-400
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- Balint, Jennifer; Evans, Julie and McMillan, Nesam. "Justice Claims in Colonial Contexts: Commissions of Inquiry in Historical Perspecive," in Australian Feminist Law Journal Vol. 42, Issue 1, 2016, pp. 75-96
- Balint, J. "The "Mau Mau" Legal Hearings and Recognizing the Crimes of the British Colonial State: A Limited Constitutive Moment," in Critical Analysis of Law 3 (2), 2016, pp. 261-285
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- Klein, E. "Neoliberal subjectivities and the behavioural focus in income management," in Australian Journal of Social Issues Vol. 51, Issue 4, 2016, pp. 503-523
- Klein, E. "Women's agency and the psychological domain: Evidence from the urban fringe of Bamako," in Feminist Economics Vol. 22, Issue 1, 2016, pp. 106-129
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- Klein, E. "The curious case of the use of the capability approach in Australian Indigenous policy," in Journal of Capabilities and Human Development Vol. 17, Issue 2, 2016, pp. 245-259
- Maddison, S. "Recognise what? The limitations of settler colonial constitutional reform," in Australian Journal of Political Science Vol. 52, No. 1, 2016, pp. 3-18
- Ellinghaus, K. ""A Little Home for Myself and Child": The Women of the Quapaw Agency and the Policy of Competency," in Pacific Historical Review Vol. 84, Issue 3, 2015, pp. 307-332
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- Maddison, S. and Shepherd, L.J. "Peacebuilding and the postcolonial politics of transitional justice," in Peacebuilding Vol. 2, No. 3, 2014, pp. 253-269
- Nolan, D., Bailey, A., Farquharson, K. and Marjoribanks, T. "Being heard: Mentoring as part of a community media intervention," in Communication, Politics and Culture Vol. 47, Issue 2, 2014, pp. 1-16
- Maddison, S. "Indigenous identity, 'authenticity' and the structural violence of settler colonialism," in Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power Vol. 20, No. 3, 2013, pp. 288-303
- Farquharson, K., Bedggood, R., Perenyi, A., Meyer, D., Johansson, C., Bedggood, P. and Milgate, G. "The Living Conditions of Aboriginal People in Victoria" (565kb pdf) Energy Procedia. International Conference on Improving Residential Energy Efficiency, IREE 2017
SPRINGER BOOK SERIES
The collaboration is currently putting together a book series under the title Indigenous-Settler Relations in Australia and the World. This series, which is to be published by Springer Books, aims to bring together scholars interested in examining contemporary Indigenous affairs through questions of relationality. This is a unique approach that represents a deliberate move away from both settler-colonial studies (which examines historical and present impacts of settler states upon Indigenous peoples), and from postcolonial and decolonial scholarship (which is predominantly interested in how Indigenous peoples speak back to the settler state). Closely connected to, but with meaningful contrast to these approaches, the Indigenous-Settler Relations series will focus sharply upon questions about what informs, shapes and gives social, legal and political life to relations between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, both in Australia and globally.
The book series does not currently have a release date so please subscribe to our mail out list to stay informed.
Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration Research Unit
School of Social and Political Sciences
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The University of Melbourne
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