The making, unmaking and remaking of difference: Shifting ideas of difference in theories of settler-Indigenous relations
April 11 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
‘Difference’ conjures diverse meanings in contemporary discourses, and no less so in discourses on relations between settlers and Indigenous peoples. Whether our differences can be breached, and the ethics such an attempt, has been the subject of colonial, postcolonial and anti-colonial discourses, each shaped by varying notions of difference: difference as essential; difference as culturally constructed through the binary of whiteness and its others; difference as a radical alterity, beyond the binary; and, then again, differences so small that we can, apparently, dismiss their significance and say ‘we are all human together’. But new materialism now throws the debate again. How to speak of human differences, including differences between culture, language, and embodiment, in the context of new materialism’s arguments concerning our entanglements, one with each other, nature with culture, body with mind, and so on? This paper engages with some of the questions of difference and entanglement for how ‘we’—now newly problematized—can live in this country now.of
Alison Ravenscroft is Associate Professor in English at La Trobe University. Her research is focussed on white settler and Indigenous encounters and collaborations. She is the author of The Postcolonial Eye: White Australian Desire and the Visual Fields of Race (Ashgate 2012; Routledge 2016).