Indigenous Advocacy in Australian and Canadian Anthropology Workshop

From 21 July, 2014 to 22 July, 2014
9AM - 5PM

Indigenous Advocacy in Australian and Canadian Anthropology


21 – 22 July 2014

New Law School Rm 020



Dr Gaynor Macdonald (Unversity of Sydney), Prof Naomi Adelson (York University)

Hosted by:

Department of Anthropology at the University of Sydney,

School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

Department of Anthropology at York University, Canada


This workshop is part of a continuing collaboration between Professor Naomi Adelson of York University and Toronto and Dr. Gaynor Macdonald of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Sydney on:

Anthropology and Aboriginal Peoples: Canadian-Australian Lessons and Futures

A two-panel symposium, held in Victoria, British Columbia, in May 2013, as part of the Canadian Anthropology Society’s Annual Conference (CASCA) preceded this workshop, where themes ranging from working on cultural/historical websites, to Aboriginal activism, to the politics of publishing in unorthodox contexts have been discussed.

This follow-on workshop will pick up on themes and papers from the CASCA session, as well as hear and critique new work. It aims to attract anthropologists and others interested in anthropology, advocacy and activism, both studies of activism as well as anthropologists’ own engagement with activism and advocacy. Our focus is on activism and advocacy with and on behalf of Aboriginal peoples in Australia and Canada.

Issues of interest to explore or challenge:

   Collaborative/applied research increases in ‘social’ but not in ‘academic’ value.

   What is ‘the community’ in the context of conflicting or competing Aboriginal groupings?

   Co-authorship and its challenges

   Studies of Aboriginal activism: methodologies and framework

   How Aboriginal activism shapes our own practice

   How collaborative research affects the relationship between the researches, the university and the collaborators as ‘the society’

   Politicising the anthropologist: does engagement and commitment constitute bias?

   Is all anthropology ‘advocacy’?

   Should justice and equity inform anthropological methodologies?

To ensure the intense examination of the topic and a coherence of discourse, places have been limited to a maximum of 60 participants.

Key speaker:

Ms Maroochy Barambah (tbc)

Intrepid Through the Field of Landmines:

 Experiencing Anthropologists and Lawyers in Native Title

 and perform songs in Turrbal, Gabi Gabi and English

Maroochy is the Song Woman and Law Woman of the Turrbal People, the Traditional Owners of Brisbane, and also has strong Gabi Gabi ancestry. She grew up on Cherbourg in south east Queensland and at the age of 12 went to live with a Melbourne family so she could attend High School and then the Melba Conservatorium of Music, where she was following in the steps of singer, Harold Blair who was also from Cherbourg. She graduated in Dramatic Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts in 1979. Maroochy made her operatic debut in the leading role in Black River in October 1989, becoming the second Aboriginal person, after Harold Blair, to perform on the Australian operatic stage. She also performed at the United Nations in New York in honour of the International Year for the World’s Indigenous Peoples in 1993.  In November 1995, she was one of the first two Indigenous Australians to perform at the Sydney Opera House, in Porgy and Bess. She is the Applicant for the Turrbal native title in Brisbane, which she has been working on since 1998 and she will focus on this experience in her presentation to the Workshop.

We invite abstract submissions of no more than 300 words until 24 May 2014. If you wish to submit an abstract, please open the tab “abstract submissions” on the top of the page. Places are limited, so early expressions of interest are vital!

All papers will be pre circulated and have to be submitted no later than 4 July. The best papers will be chosen for a peer reviewed special journal edition.

For more information and enquiries please contact:



Location: Room 020 New Law School building

Contact:Katarina Ferro