LAUNCH: Beyond Recognition: a special edition of Postcolonial Studies


When: Wednesday 20 September, 6-8pm

Where: Institute for Postcolonial Studies, 78-80 Curzon St, North Melbourne, VIC 3051

 (note that IPCS events have a small cover charge: waged $5, unwaged $3, IPCS members free)

The special issue responds to recent critical Indigenous scholarship against the politics of recognition, led by scholars such as Audra Simpson (who has a paper in the issue) and Glen Coulthard. The papers in the issue build on their important critiques, extending these into diverse empirical contexts, including in non-settler postcolonial contexts (Kenya, Papua New Guinea) as well as in settler colonial ones (Australia, US, Canada).

The papers engage variously with: Indigenous refusal and colonial constructions of ‘consent’ in settler colonies (Audra Simpson); slum-upgrading development projects in Kenya (Sam Balaton-Chrimes); the interplay of recognition and assimilation in Indigenous Australian lifeworlds (Melinda Hinkson); the refusal of whiteness by light-skinned Aboriginal people (Emma Kowal and Yin Paradies); memorialisation of the Second World War and of ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ in Papua New Guinea (Victoria Stead); visual self-representations of Indigenous people affected by the Canadian Residential School system (Lara Fullenwieder); and the competing normative political frameworks of recognition and justification (Duncan Ivison).

The list of journal contents is below, and we are very happy to provide PDFs of any of these for those who don’t have institutional access to them (email or

For those of you who are in Melbourne, we will be launching the special issue at the Institute for Postcolonial Studies, North Melbourne, on the 20 September. Paul Muldoon (Monash University) will join the issue editors (Victoria Stead and Sam Balaton-Chrimes) in a panel discussion on the politics of recognition, including in relation to current Australian debates over constitutional recognition of Indigenous people. Please join us, if you can, for some good conversation and light refreshments.

Postcolonial Studies

Special Issue, ‘Beyond Recognition’, vol. 20(1) 2017

 1. Samantha Balaton-Chrimes and Victoria Stead, ‘Recognition, Power and Coloniality’

 2. Audra Simpson, ‘The Ruse of Consent and the Anatomy of “Refusal”: Cases from North America and Australia’

 3. Lara Fullenwieder, ‘Framing Indigenous Self-Recognition: The Visual and Cultural Work of the Politics of Recognition’

 4. Samantha Balaton-Chrimes, ‘Recognition, Coloniality and International Development: A Case Study of the Nubians and the Kenya Slum Upgrading Project’

 5. Victoria Stead, ‘Violent Histories and the Ambivalences of Recognition in Postcolonial Papua New Guinea’

 6. Melinda Hinkson, ‘Beyond Assimilation and Refusal: A Warlpiri Perspective on the Politics of Recognition’

 7. Emma Kowal and Yin Paradies, ‘Indigeneity and the Refusal of Whiteness’

 8. Duncan Ivison, ‘Pluralising Political Legitimacy’   


READING GROUP: Degrowth and the Global South (Melbourne)

Convened by Sam Alexander and Boris Frankel of MSSI Political Economy of Sustainability Group
Wednesday 23 August 2017 at 12.30.
Dean’s Boardroom, Level 1, of the Melbourne School of Design, Building 133.
Chair: Jeremy Baskin
Presenter: Elise Klein
Followed by Group discussion
De-growth and related discussions in the global North often shy away from the implications for ’poorer’ countries of the arguments made. As Tim Jackson put it in the first edition of his Prosperity without Growth? book: ‘this report challenges the assumption of continued economic expansion in rich countries’. And yet a related debate has been occurring in the global South, where existing development models have been found wanting. ‘Post-development’ thinking (sometimes other labels are used) is based on a critical understanding of development, both in its effects and in the imposition of ‘universal’ models of well-being and human-nature relations which are at odds with many established traditions. In the discussion we hope to explore post-development thinking and its relationship to post-growth approaches. The two readings provide an introduction by two of its leading thinkers.
Escobar, A. (2015). Degrowth, postdevelopment, and transitions: a preliminary conversation. Sustainability Science, 10(3), 451-462.

BOOK LAUNCH: Native Colonialism: Education and the Economy of Violence Against Traditions in Ethiopia by Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes


Native Colonialism: Education and the Economy of Violence Against Traditions in Ethiopia
by Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes

Book launch and discussion

21 July 2017

4:00pm to 6:00pm

Victoria University MetroWest

138 Nicholson Street, Footscray University Town

Native Colonialism: Education and the Economy of Violence Against Traditions in Ethiopia examines the cause and consequence of native colonialism, the process whereby a country colonises itself with foreign institutions and ideals.  Taking Ethiopia as its case study, it asks, why did a country that was never colonised replace its government, legal system and educational institutions with foreign imitations?  How did it come to have a European language as its medium of higher education and why was the rich philosophy, literature and history of the country replaced by western knowledge? What is the impact of this process in the identities and daily lives of contemporary Ethiopian students?

The book demonstrates that colonialism is not just a geographically delineated notion that applies only to the control of racialised beings whose territories and natural resources are occupied by foreign powers. It also involves the colonisation of mental spaces whereby the application of selected epistemic rules influence the consciousness of individuals to accept unjust economic and social relationships as natural and inevitable. Native colonialism challenges common assumptions about education and knowledge production by questioning the relevance of a globalised education system to the interests and rights of diverse lives in the 21st century.

Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes is a researcher and lecturer at the Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University, Australia. Yirga taught law and worked with grassroots organisations in Ethiopia before completing his Doctorate in Australia. Yirga’s research focuses on the critical study of development, education and law, and the importance of lived experience and epistemic diversity for decolonial futures. His teaching practice is informed by his research on how to teach human rights from the perspective of diverse epistemologies, cultures and religions. He also researches African experiences and Ethiopian traditions, and writes creatively on belonging and diasporic lives.

EVENT: Keywords for India: Land


Keywords for India: Land

Thursday 20 July, 2017

6pm – 7pm

YHM Room, Level 1, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, Swanston Street

University of Melbourne

Land is many things to different people. In India, as elsewhere, it is sacred, bestows status, provides family inheritance, a source of livelihood, a store of value, and an asset that earns rents as well as profits. In this keyword lecture of the Australia India InstituteAnthony D’Costa and Achin Chakraborty collaboratively offer another interpretation of land, namely, its commodification and the resulting political, legal, and sometimes violent contestations involving the state, landowners, corporations, and communities. Based on their recently published book “The Land Question in India: State, Dispossession, and Capitalist Transition” they present trends in land use pattern and economic conditions of farmers to show how an unresolved agrarian question and the state’s resolve in transforming the economy is creating a process of dispossession that challenges our very conception of capitalist development as we know it.