What is Recognition?

Noel Pearson and Jonathan Lear in conversation

Co-presented with the Constitution Education Fund Australia and Psyche + Society

8 December 2015

Noel Pearson is one of Australia’s foremost indigenous leaders and political activists. He titled his first Quarterly Essay, Radical Hope, explicitly referring to the work of the renowned philosopher and psychoanalyst Jonathan Lear of the same title.

Pearson and Lear are both concerned about the survival of indigenous peoples and the possibility to flourish under an indigenous identity within a changing world. In this event, Pearson and Lear will meet to discuss the complex question of the recognition of indigenous peoples in light of the proposed referendum on recognising indigenous peoples in the Constitution.

What is recognition? What kind of acknowledgement is involved? How does recognition affect the identities of both sides?

Join Noel Pearson, Jonathan Lear and a panel of experts and researches as they discuss these and other questions from constitutional, philosophical and psychoanalytic perspectives.


Noel Pearson

Noel Pearson is an Advisor for the Cape York Partnership,
dedicated to empowering Cape York Indigenous people. He is also the Chairman of Good to Great Schools Australia, which has delivered significant improvements in literacy and numeracy in the primary schools of the Cape York Academy.

Professor Jonathan Lear

Professor Jonathan Lear is a professor of philosophy and a psychoanalyst. He is the Director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago, and is on the faculties of the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute and the Western New England Institute for Psychoanalysis.

Panellists responding to Noel Pearson and Jonathan Lear

Professor Marcia Langton

Professor Marcia Langton AM is an anthropologist and geographer, and holds the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. She has published widely in political and legal anthropology and Indigenous culture and art.

Pamela Nathan

Pamela Nathan is a forensic and clinical psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist and is currently Director of the Aboriginal Australian Relations Program, CASSE (Creating A Safe and Supportive Environment) working on violence and trauma with Aboriginal organisations and people in central Australia.

Professor Duncan Ivison

Professor Duncan Ivison is Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Sydney and currently also Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research). He works in three main areas: political philosophy, the history of philosophy (especially early modern) and ethics.

A cocktail reception will follow the conversation and panel discussion.

The event is sponsored by the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences of the University of Sydney, Baker & McKenzie, Creating A Safe Supportive Environment (CASSE), the Sydney Institute for Psychoanalysis, and the Australian Psychoanalytical Society.