Jon Altman (Research Professor, Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin University), Cameo Dalley (Postdoctoral Fellow, Anthropology, University of Melbourne), Chris Healy (Associate Professor, Cultural Studies, University of Melbourne) and Tim Neale (Postdoctoral Fellow, Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin University) discuss the issues explored in Tim Neale’s new book: In Wild Articulations (University of Hawaii Press).Timothy Neale examines environmentalism, indigeneity, and development in Northern Australia through the controversy surrounding the Wild Rivers Act 2005 (Qld) in Cape York Peninsula, an event that drew together a diverse cast of actors – traditional owners, prime ministers, politicians, environmentalists, mining companies, the late Steve Irwin, crocodiles, and river systems – to contest the future of the north. With a population of fewer than 18,000 people spread over a landmass of over 50,000 square miles, Cape York Peninsula remains a “frontier” in many senses. Long constructed as a wild space-whether as terra nullius, a zone of legal exception, or a biodiverse wilderness region in need of conservation-Australia’s north has seen two fundamental political changes over the past two decades. The first is the legal recognition of Indigenous land rights, reaching over a majority of its area. The second is that the region has been the centre of national debates regarding the market integration and social normalization of Indigenous people, attracting the attention of federal and state governments and becoming a site for intensive neoliberal reforms. Drawing connections with other settler colonial nations such as Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand, Wild Articulations examines how indigenous lands continue to be imagined and governed as “wild”.
Timothy Neale is from Aotearoa/New Zealand and currently lives in Melbourne, where is a Research Fellow at Deakin University’s Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. He is the author of Wild Articulations: environmentalism and indigeneity in northern Australia (UHP, 2017), co-editor (with Eve Vincent) of Unstable relations: environmentalism and indigenous people in contemporary Australia, co-editor (with Stephen Turner) of Other people’s country: law, water and entitlement in settler colonial sites (Routledge, 2016) and co-editor (with Crystal McKinnon and Eve Vincent) of History, power, text: cultural studies and Indigenous studies (UTS ePress, 2014).
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