When the environmental movement emerged in Australia in the 1970s, many saw an obvious alliance between activists and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. There seemed to be broad agreement on one major principle: the natural environment should not be subject to thoughtless destruction.
But these relationships have also often played out with tension – complicated by disagreements on issues from fire management to mining sites and the contested idea of ‘wilderness’. In her 2012 Boyer Lecture, Indigenous writer and anthropologist Marcia Langton denounced ‘the refusal among the romantics, leftists and worshippers of nature to admit that Aboriginal people, like other humans, have an economic life … and have economic rights’.
A new book, Unstable Relations, explores the past and present of this sometimes tense, often constructive and always evolving relationship. Join its co-editor, anthropologist Eve Vincent, Indigenous organiser and strategist Karrina Nolan and contributor Jon Altman in conversation with host Tony Birch.
This event will be Auslan interpreted.
Presented in partnership with Yirramboi.
Tony Birch is a founding member of the Melbourne School of Discontent. He has published three novels; The White Girl, Ghost River and Blood. He is also the author of Shadowboxing and three short story collections, Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People. In 2017 he was awarded the Pa... Read more
Eve Vincent is a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University. She is the co-editor, with Timothy Neale, of Unstable Relations: Indigenous people and environmentalism in contemporary Australia (UWAP, 2016).
Jon Altman is a research professor at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University, and an Emeritus Professor at the Australian National University. One of Australia’s most engaged public intellectuals, Jon also frequently writes for a broader audience on ... Read more
Karrina Nolan is of mixed heritage from Yorta Yorta nation in Victoria. She’s worked as an organiser, strategist, campaigner, facilitator, lobbyist and hip-hop wrangler alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, young people and communities for 20 years. She’s led programs and campai... Read more
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