Team

View profiles of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration team members.

Professor Sarah Maddison
Professor Sarah Maddison

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.

Sarah 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.

Sarah Maddison staff profile

Associate Professor Sana Nakata
Associate Professor Sana Nakata

Associate Professor Sana Nakata

Sana Nakata is Associate Dean (Indigenous), Senior Lecturer in Political Science and co-founder 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.

Sana’s 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 director Sarah Maddison, edits the Springer book series: Indigenous Settler Relations in Australia and the World.

Sana Nakata staff profile

Claire Akbari

Claire is the ISRC Graduate Programs Coordinator. Claire is from a white settler background and completed their BA (Honours) with a major in Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne in 2016. Their minor thesis was entitled Booing the Selfish Rabble: Reading race in whitestream news media representations of Aboriginal sovereign resistance and the findings were presented at the 2017 NIRAKN Race, Whiteness and Indigeneity International Conference. They also presented a paper at The National Centre of Indigenous Studies Research Colloquium in 2017 entitled Decolonizing Graduate Research: Reflections from a Settler-Colonizer perspective.

For the last 2 years they have been working as a tutor in the subjects Australian Indigenous Public Policy, Australian Indigenous Politics, First Peoples in a Global Context, Aboriginalities, Introduction to Indigenous Education and Public Policy Making, and was one of the lead discussants for the ISRC’s reading group for 18 months. While an undergraduate student they were a co-author of a 2015 publication The Oombulgurri Project, which worked from the local to situate the case of the closure of the Oombulgurri community in larger frameworks of settler colonial violence and neo-liberal strategy. They were also on the Faculty of Arts Dean’s Honours List twice in 2015 and 2011, and the 2015 recipient of The Marion Boothby Exhibition, which is awarded to the student with the highest mark in the field of British History.

They live and work on the stolen lands of the Boonwurung and Wurundjeri peoples of the Kulin Nation and acknowledges that sovereignty to their lands, and the rest of the country currently known as Australia, has never been ceded. The desire to individually reject and collectively dismantle the personal and structural privilege gained from the foundational and ongoing genocide and dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples informs their work.

Eleanor Benson

Eleanor is the ISRC Research Coordinator. She is a white settler living and working on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung peoples of the Kulin nations. Eleanor completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with Honours at the University of Melbourne in 2017, majoring in Australian Indigenous Studies and Gender Studies. Her honours thesis explored the relationship between incarceration and settler colonial sovereignty.

Eleanor has tutored in Gender Studies and Sustainability Studies at the University of Melbourne and RMIT. She is currently working as a research assistant on an ARC Discovery Project with academics from the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland, investigating Indigenous governance and state relations.

Bianca Williams

Bianca works as a research assistant at the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration (ISRC) along with being a co-lead discussant for the ISRC’s critical reading group. Bianca also tutors in the subject Indigenous Treaties and Titles at the University of Melbourne. She has completed an undergraduate degree in Indigenous Studies and is currently undertaking a Masters degree in Justice and Criminology. She has a particular interest in the histories and contemporary politics related to the impacts of legislation on Indigenous lives.

Bianca has a background in finance and worked in the field for fourteen years before joining the University of Melbourne. Her work in finance included establishing and managing a loan originations team dedicated to supporting the financial independence of individuals who would normally be overlooked by mainstream lenders. Bianca belongs to the Nari Nari people from the Hay Plains of New South Wales. She has lived on Kulin Nations land for over a decade.

Sarah Maddison and Sana Nakata, Founders of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration

Professor Sarah Maddison and Associate Professor Sana Nakata
Founders of the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration
Photo: Phil Soliman, Telepathic Photo