Abstract

Australian Indigenous anthropological studies have focused heavily on the Aboriginal subject. There has been some historical research on non‐Indigenous experience of personal and institutional relationships between Aboriginal and non‐Aboriginal people. However, ‘Whiteness Studies’ within Cultural Studies as distinct from anthropology, has taken the lead in critiques about racial identity and privileged relationships between Self/Other in Australia, and the consequential imbalances in post‐colonial Australia. This paper contrasts with the stance of Whiteness Studies in several ways.

To begin with it is an anthropological perspective based on participant observation, with a focus on the experience of non‐Indigenous women working or living in two remote Aboriginal communities. Their experience suggests that a gendered non‐Indigenous racial identity is not homogenous. I show this by reviewing the ethnography of female informants in two remote communities 20 years apart and in different states.

Thinking why such congruence should be evident has led me to look at the impacts of institutionalised power, agency and location in everyday life. My paper is exploratory. I offer it to open a space to examine inter‐racial relations in remote communities, and what it might be about the settings themselves which influence or are determinative of these relationships.

About the Presenter

Julie has been a Research Fellow at the Centre for Native Title Anthropology at the ANU from September 2015 until present. Previously she held academic positions at La Trobe University (1992‐94), and at the ANU in the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (1994‐2000). She was a consultant anthropologist (2000‐2004) before entering the Australian Public Service (2004‐2012) serving in Indigenous program areas across a range of Government departments. She has published on anthropological practice issues in Native Title, Indigenous Tourism, Applied Anthropology, and participated in Indigenous organisational reviews. She author of a major study published by AIATSIS Press on best practice examples in service delivery by Indigenous organisations. In recent years, Julie enjoyed a secondment to the Business Council of Australia, a field placement with ‘proof of concept’ community housing project in Bourke NSW, and as manager (as well as DJ) of an Indigenous community radio station in Far Western NSW.

 

About Anthropology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Anthropology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of anthropological research and ideas among UQ scholars and invited researchers. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment.