Indigenous Peoples, the Neoliberal Settler State and Trans-Generational Violence

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal 31 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Deirdre HOWARD-WAGNER, University of Sydney, Australia
In the neoliberal age, ‘histories are taken to be over, past, evaporated, and in denial, yet the conditions of which, as they are buried, misremembered, mis-membered, remain very much alive’ (Goldberg 2009). In the act of misremembering, mis-membering, and misrecognising Indigenous disadvantage as socio-economic gap, which is solved through “getting an education” and “getting a job” (Abbott 2014), the neoliberal settler states cultivates a ‘wilful ignorance’ (Samson 2013) in the perpetuation of historical and ‘epistemic injustice’ (Fricker 2007). This wilful ignorance not only evidences a deep epistemological attachment to western liberalism or ‘liberal whiteness’ (Wiegman 1999), which denies difference, erases Indigenous agency, invalidates Indigenous histories and subjects Indigenous peoples to further cultural injustices (Fraser 2014).

The paper explores this proposition as the standpoint of Aboriginal people who were interviewed as part of an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research project in which interviewees situate Aboriginal disadvantage as a constellation of disadvantage that are an artefact and legacy of Australia’s settler colonial history and the institutionalized structuring of Aboriginal/settler social relations in Australia over two hundred years. Interviewee’s express how injustice continues in the present neolibera moment of alienation and disempowerment and denial.