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Broadly Speaking: Aileen Moreton-Robinson: 20th Anniversary of Talkin' Up to the White Woman
It's been 20 years since Aileen Moreton-Robinson wrote Talkin’ Up to the White Woman, the seminal work of Australian First Nations scholarship that exposed the blinding whiteness, and the serious limitations, of Australian feminist thought.
In her book, Moreton-Robinson traces and honours the history of Indigenous women’s activism in Australia and lays bare some uncomfortable truths about white women’s complicity in racial oppression. She exposes, too, the prevalence of biased and blinkered thought prevalent within white feminist academia. Talkin’ Up to the White Woman has shaped the thinking of feminist and First Nations scholars across the globe.
To launch our Broadly Speaking series, we’re presenting the formidable Moreton-Robinson in conversation with critical race and whiteness scholar Fiona Nicoll. The pair discuss the twentieth anniversary of Talkin’ Up to the White Woman. What questions and experiences informed the writing of the book, and how does it seek to understand power? How did Moreton-Robinson experience colonialism in academia? How do some feminist movements clash with ideas of Indigenous sovereignty – and what are some alternative ways of thinking?
Presented in collaboration with State Library of Queensland and RMIT Social and Global Studies Centre.
The Broadly Speaking series is proudly supported by Krystyna Campbell-Pretty AM and family.
Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson is a Goenpul woman of the Quandamooka people (Moreton Bay) and is Professor of Indigenous Research at RMIT University. She was appointed as Australia’s first Indigenous Distinguished Professor in 2016 and was a founding member of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA). She is the author of Talkin’ Up to the White Woman: Indigenous Women and Feminism (UQP); The White Possessive: Property, Power and Indigenous Sovereignty (Minnesota Press); and the editor of several books, including Critical Indigenous Studies: Engagements in First World Locations (The University of Arizona Press). In 2020 she was appointed a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the first-ever Australian Indigenous scholar to be elected.
Professor Fiona Nicoll is a founding member of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association and edited its inaugural issue in 2005. She has a track record of working with Indigenous leaders, artists and academics, through social history curation, collaborative arts projects, teaching and joint research projects. She has published on Indigenous gambling in Australia and North America and brings expertise in critical race and whiteness studies, and the role of arts in creating and transforming knowledge, within and across conflict zones in settler-colonial states.
The rigorous mentorship of Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson has guided her research contributions to critical race and whiteness studies over two decades. Nicoll is the author of From Diggers to Drag Queens (Pluto Press, 2001), co-editor of Courting Blakness: Recalibrating Knowledge in the Sandstone University (2015), Transnational Whiteness Matters (2008) and numerous book chapters and articles in the areas of critical gambling studies, critical race and whiteness studies, the neoliberal university and queer theory.