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Whitefellas and wadjulas: anti-colonial constructions of the non-aboriginal self

Carey, Michelle (2008) Whitefellas and wadjulas: anti-colonial constructions of the non-aboriginal self. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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In this thesis, I argue for anti-colonial constructions of the non-Aboriginal self. I take as my starting point that members of the invader/settler society in Australia must place them/ourselves in “an embodied awareness of ‘being in Indigenous sovereignty’” (Nicholl, 2004: 17) and name them/ourselves accordingly. An anti-colonial construction of non-Aboriginality formed within the locus of Aboriginal Sovereignty undermines the potency of ‘post-colonial’ processes of identity formation, which privilege the colonialist centre, and the concomitant marginalised position of Indigenous people. Thus, an anti-colonial construction of non-Aboriginality constitutes a radical recentring for processes of identity construction within invader/settler societies.

This work responds to critical whiteness studies and post-colonial discourses of ‘belonging’. I acknowledge both whiteness studies and work on invader/settler belongings have gained traction in recent years as a means to problematise the whiteness of the settler/invader group and the legitimacy of their/our belongings. However, I argue they continue to operate within colonialist paradigms and perpetuate (neo)colonial power relations.

In this thesis, I argue anti-colonial constructions of non-Aboriginality are constructed in dialogue with Aboriginal people. I conceive non-Aboriginality as a political identity that rejects ‘race’ and ‘colour’ as markers for identity. ‘Non-Aboriginality’ enables members of invader/settler societies to articulate support for Aboriginal Sovereignty and Aboriginal claims for social justice and human rights.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Media, Communication and Culture
Supervisor(s): Trees, Kathryn
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