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Summer School Schedule
Summer School Schedule

Acknowledgement of Land 

Macquarie University and the research training group ‘Minor Cosmopolitanisms’ acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Macquarie University land, the Wattamattagal clan of the Darug nation, whose cultures and customs have nurtured, and continue to nurture, this land since the Dreamtime. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and future; to the Ancestors; and to the Land and Water, its knowledges, Dreaming and culture – embodied within and throughout this Country. We mark this acknowledgement in the context of the ongoing impact of colonisation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their ongoing assertion of unceded sovereignty over Country.


Conversation on the exhibition "With Secrecy and Despatch"

Tess Allas, Daniel Browning, and Adrian Stimson

Wednesday, Feburary 14th, 2018 

April 17th, 2016 marked the 200th Anniversary of the Appin Massacre. This massacre saw the government sanctioned murder, capture and displacement of Aboriginal communities within the Appin Region. Whilst horrific, and often forgotten, events similar to this have tarnished the histories of Western Colonisation the world over, recently there has been an increased engagement in a dialogue that not only discusses the impact of this colonisation on contemporary Indigenous identity, but also emphasises the need for the public acknowledgment and commemoration of these lost histories. 

In collaboration with the local Dharawal community and co-curators, Tess Allas and Canadian, David Garneau; Campbelltown Arts Centre produced an exhibition entitled With Secrecy and Despatch. Allas and Garneau, commissioned new works by Indigenous Australian artists Vernon Ah Kee, Tony Albert, Frances Belle Parker, Julie Gough, Genevieve Grieves and Dale Harding along with First Nations Canadian artists Jordan Bennett, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Marianne Nicholson and Adrian Stimson. Whilst the catalyst for this exhibition remained the Appin Massacre, these artists explored other histories of brutality, conflict, identity, culture and memory from a variety of Indigenous perspectives. However, some of the artists drew directly upon the Appin Massacre to create their body of work.

Tess Allas and Adrian Stimson, in conversation with ABC broadcaster and journalist Daniel Browning (who was also amember of the With Secrecy and Despatch curatorium), will discuss the delicate process of bringing to life an exhibition that the community would be proud of and which employed ancient art making techniques sitting comfortably alongside contemporary art techniques including drone video, google earth use and digital image projections and time lapse image capture that together created a cutting edge contemporary art aesthetic which responded to a horrific event in our nations’ history and how that event affects us today. Daniel, Tess and Adrian will be hosting a Q & A session the following day, in which participants will be able to investigate further the approaches outlined in the previous days’ conversation

The Invention of ‘Cultural Racism’ and the Apparent Resurgence of White Supremacy

Alana Lentin

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018


The first anniversary of Donald Trump’s presidency allows us to reflect on the resurgence of white supremacy which seems to have accompanied it. Other events such as the Brexit referendum in the UK, and the election of far-right parties in several European countries have given rise to a spate of commentaries about the ‘left behind’ white working class. Race, from these perspectives, it is said, has been allowed for too long to trump class, and we are now reaping what we sow. The rise of the ‘identitarianism’ of the so-called Alt-Right has been interpreted as the overly permissive attitude towards the ‘identity politics’ of politically ascendant ‘minorities’ to the detriment of a liberal or a class based universalism that has gone out of fashion. In this talk, I argue that these accusations are not new. The claim that the struggle of racialized people for justice subtracts from both the liberal and the Marxist project was a recurring theme of the late twentieth century. It is borne of a purposeful misinterpretation of race that forecloses the continuous nature of coloniality and confines it in the 19th and 20th century European racist project.

Borne of this failure of accurate historicization, it has been tacitly accepted that racist ideas emerge in discrete stages. As such, since the late 1980s, a ‘new’ cultural racism has been identified which, it is argued, replaces older biological ideas of racial hierarchy observable in particular historical events that I have called ‘frozen racism’. However, the acceptance of ‘cultural racism’ refutes the relationality of race itself, always already constructed on the basis of myriad and complex components, appealing since its inception to both nature and culture. The proposition that cultural racism has reached its peak in then present political moment is accompanied by the suggestion that exposing the racist nature of these culturalist ideas will pose a significant challenge to them. However, I wish to argue that the very terms upon which this is set up – the division of racism into stages or types – thwarts this aim. The very identification of ‘cultural racism’ as apart from ‘old racism’ lends itself de facto to the minimization of ‘identitarianism’ or ‘white nationalism’ and its distancing from ‘real racism’. Indeed, every call out of an event or a statement as racist is retorted to by denial and defence against what has widely come to be seen as an extreme and undeserved accusation. Instead, I suggest that we see the naming of cultural racism as a novel phenomenon as contributing to the growing acceptability of ‘not racism’ as the first defence of white supremacists. Movements for racial justice, rather than being dismissed as divisive ‘identity politics’, should be seen as spaces for thinking against and out of our destructive political times.

Justice, where the bloody hell are you?

Roxley Foley

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

... is a mockery of an old very whitewashed Australian tourist campaign that celebrated Australian cosmopolitanism but erased Aboriginal people out of the picture. The talk will be a look at the illusion of justice, progressiveness, multiculturalism and at the historical revisionism in Australia which has put us in a place where Aboriginal people are still blamed for their own dispossesion and poverty. 

Seminar Sessions

Session 1 

Monday, February 12th, 2018

The Legal and the Aesthetic as 'Modes of Existence' in Indigenous Struggles against Extraction Colonialism

Stephen Muecke

I would approach the problem of the relationship between justice and aesthetics by not starting with Kant’s foundational Christian modernism. I would rather describe the legal and the aesthetic as contemporary ‘modes of existence’ (Latour) that work in parallel and overlap in institutional configurations. This means working descriptively and pragmatically (Stengers’ 'ecology of practices') on what people actually do in order to ‘create’ and/or ‘make just’, and what other kinds of agencies are activated and get involved in movements such as an Indigenous Australian struggle against extraction colonisation in Broome.

Solidarity Across Difference 

Alia Amirali and Ina Kerner

In this session, the speakers will address the complexities and possibilities associated with “solidarity across difference”. Kerner, drawing on her experience as a visiting scholar in Pakistan, addresses the uneasy relation of solidarity and charity in contexts of extreme social inequality and problematises the “hands-off approach” to global feminism that arose as a reaction to the critique of the notion of global sisterhood. Amirali extends the discussion through an exploration of how class, ethnicity, and gender operate as “difference lines” within leftwing organising in Pakistan, and argues that a de-facto privileging of the particular over the general, and of difference over unity (and even sameness) leads to a recreation of the problem rather than its transcendence.

History, Injustice and the Politics of Vision in Michael Haneke’s Caché (Hidden)

Paul Sheehan

Session 2 

Tuesday, February 13th 2018

Q & A session on ‘With Secrecy and Despatch’

Tess Allas, Daniel Browning and Adrian Stimson


The Revolutionary Political Party: A Vehicle for Justice or an Obstacle to Justice? Reflection on Party-Building in Contemporary Pakistan

Alia Amirali

Over the last few decades, “the Revolution” and “the Party” have become caricatured terms and ceased to be taken seriously (though recent events indicate that the tide is turning). Indeed, “the Party” has come to be seen as more of a hegemon to be resisted rather than a particular (and flawed) response to oppression. Can “the Party” be imagined, and built, differently? Are we even willing to imagine it differently? Could currently popular ideas of justice and resistance - horizontal, non-hierarchal, leaderless - be (unwittingly or otherwise) replicating the dominance that they seek to displace? Does the Party necessarily subsume individuality, creativity and difference into its ‘cold, concrete structure’ or can it be a vehicle for engendering and strengthening “minor cosmopolitanisms” and counter-hegemonic impulses? Does “enabling difference” alone encompass our ideals of justice? How come we so rarely focus on the process of party-building, its limitations and possibilities? Alia Amirali reflects on these questions through an examination and analysis of recent efforts to build a new left-wing political party in Pakistan.

Session 3  

Tuesday, February 13th 2018

In an Impaired State

Suvendrini Perera

This seminar examines the four visual works that comprised the exhibition, My Horizon, presented at the Venice Biennale 2017 by Australia’s official artist, Tracey Moffatt. I argue that these four works, (Body Remembers, Passages, Vigil and The White Ghosts Sailed In) constitute a counterfield to the horizon of Australian whiteness, underscoring how the politics of Indigenous recognition and policies of ‘border protection’ are deeply interconnected. In that latter part of the seminar I turn to recent events that, I argue, are fully intelligible only in the context of this horizon of sovereign whiteness.

Kulata Tjuta and the Concept of ‘Instauration’

Stephen Muecke

At the Tarnanthi show at the Art gallery of South Australia, the Kulata Tjuta (Many Spears) Project derives from work begun in 2010 at Tjala Arts in the community of Amata, central Australia, under the direction of Willy Kaika Burton. Today it continues as a network of up to 100 artists from APY country, each producing a spear or piti (coolamon) that were later gathered and composed into an artwork that is a response to the British atomic tests of the 1950s at Maralinga. It is a kind of artistic ‘payback’. In circling around the atomic events, it becomes its own event with past and future ramifications. It is not just a work of art, but a just work of art.

Session 4 

Tuesday, February 13th 2018

Spaces of Appearance? Australia’s Refugee Black Sites

Suvendrini Perera & Joseph Pugliese

This workshop discusses the powers of life activated among inmates designated as disposable and bare lives on Manus Island – powers that, we argue, amount to a fully mobilised and embodied resistive force, one that is deeply conscientized and confident in its analytical and creative potentiality. Seemingly disappeared on a prison island, held incommunicado and out of sight, the men of Manus prison camp yet manage to effect what might be described, as ‘a space of appearance’ (Mirzoeff 2017, 19-20) in which they make themselves visible as political subjects, both in Australia and across a global landscape.


Nicholas Mirzoeff, The Appearance of Black Lives Matter namepublications.org/item/2017/the-appearance-ofblack- lives-matter/


Session 5 

Wednesday, February 14th 2018

The Deathscapes Project

Suvendrini Perera & Joseph Pugliese

‘Deathscapes: Mapping Race and Violence in Settler States’ is a transnational research project on deaths in custody across settler states. It aims to produce new knowledge about the practices and technologies, both global and domestic, that enable state violence against two key racialized groups, Indigenous people and racialized migrants and refugees at the border. The project adopts a transnational and cross-disciplinary approach to racialized state violence to map the sites and distributions of custodial deaths in locations such as police cells, prisons and immigration detention centres. The Deathscapes website will be a distinctive and innovative feature of the project, as a free-to-access resource that documents racialized deaths transnationally via a single digital site that consolidates statistics, analysis, graphics and artworks; it is a resource that is creative, archival and analytical, and for use by multiple publics.

The transnational research team for Deathscapes includes Prof. Suvendrini Perera (Curtin University), Prof. Joseph Pugliese (Macquarie University), Prof. Jonathan Inda (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Prof. Marianne Franklin (Goldsmiths, University of London). 

Animals and Justice: Exploring Contemporary Approaches to Animals as Political Subjects

Dinesh Wadiwel

Approaches to social justice have typically restricted their claims to the "human." However, growing public concern in relation to the treatment of animals in the context of food systems and research suggests that "justice" is a useful frame for thinking about human relationships with the non human. In this presentation, I will review the recent "political turn" in animal studies, which has opened up new directions in thinking about animals, relationships of power, and societies. Building on the foundations provided by animals ethics and animals rights theory, these new approaches have focused on political questions relating to justice and injustice, non human political statuses, the design of political institutions, laws and communities, and the problems involved in developing strategies that will lead to meaningful change for animals. As I shall also discuss, a focus on animals as subjects of justice is also instructive for understanding injustice towards humans; particularly in making sense of the dehumanisation that accompanies structural violence.

Session 6 

Thursday, February 15th 2018

Dealing with the 3 Ds: Deflection, distancing and denial in racism and migration studies

Alana Lentin

This seminar addresses what I identify as a central weakness of much contemporary ‘migration ethnicity and minorities’ (MEM) studies – the failure to engage deeply with race critical thought. I draw on several papers I have written on European migration studies and Australian ‘racism studies’ (Lentin 2014 & 2017), to think together with participants how the deflection, distancing and denial of the significance of race affects our understanding of borders, immigration and asylum, multiculturalism, settlement and ‘integration’, diaspora, transnationalism and diversity, etc.

My argument is that the failure to read these processes as racially inflected – borne of the particular histories of racial coloniality – permits political and social problems such as border security or social cohesion to be read as purely pragmatic and delinked from wider questions about the persistence of what Quijano calls the ‘coloniality of power’. It allows a reaching for what are touted as more realistic solutions, as seen in recent suggestions from Australian academics, such as more investment in positive multiculturalism or the encouragement of ‘bystander antiracism’, all of which, though assuredly welcome, are challenged by the lack of dialogue around the more insidious questions of white supremacy and continuous colonial rule. Drawing on the experience of the Challenging Migration Studies book series I co-edit with Gavan Titley I want to examine what locating race in migration studies looks like, what questions doing so opens up for the field, and what existing work we can draw on to advance our thinking.

Julie Gough’s Forensic Archaeology of National Forgetting

Joseph Pugliese

Julie Gough’s Hunting Ground (Pastoral) – Van Diemen’s Land is a video installation that brings into focus a number of Tasmania’s contemporary settler estates. These settler estates were founded in the wake of Tasmania’s Black War. By juxtaposing pastoral visions of these settler estates with the documentary evidence of the massacres of Aboriginal people that enabled their foundation, Gough visually compels the viewer to bear witness to Australia’s otherwise buried history of attempted genocide. Through her literal deposition of soil gathered from Aboriginal massacre sites across the bucolic visions of Tasmania’s settler estates, she visually materialises an unsettling torque of remembrance and forgetting.

Identity, Oppression, Survival: J. M. Coetzee’s Life & Times of Michael K

Paul Sheehan

Final Panel 

Thursday, February 15th 2018 

Minor Cosmopolitan Justice and Aesthetics: Potentials and Pitfalls

with Roxley Foley, Joseph Pugliese, Anja Schwarz


PhD Exchange

Discuss and Strategize!

Thursday, February 15th 2018 

This session is reserved for an exchange of ideas between all postgraduate participants in the Summer School. It is conceived to serve as a space for dialogue and debate where we fellows will discuss a series of concerns related to our work, share thoughts and experience about these concerns, and debate potential strategies on how to deal with them.

Our exchange will be organized along the following topics:

A) methodology

B) theory

C) material

D) academia

Film Screening

Call to Account

This 20 minute film was produced by Researchers Against Pacific Black Sites on Human Rights Day 2015.

Presented by Suvendrini Perera and Joseph Pugliese, the screening will be followed by a discussion.


For more Information: rapbs.org


Balls Head reserve

On Wednesday 14th February, a tour in the Yerroulbine/BallsHead reserve will be conducted by a guide from the Aboriginal Heritage Office. The tour will last around an hour an a half. As the sun heats up very quickly in summer, we were advised to start at 9:30 am on site. Travelling to Balls Head involves a journey of about 40-45 minutes (train to Waverton + shortwalk). 

Informal walk in Redfern

As this early tour will leave us time until the next session at 2 pm, we invite all participants to travel to Redfern, a historical quarter for Aboriginal history, activism and arts, as well as the home of several cultural initiatives.

You can spend your lunchtime visiting the Gadigal Information Service Centre (27 Cope Street) and buy CDs of young artists, admiring Daniel Boyd's mural artwork What Remains at the corner of Vine and Everleigh Street, and learning about the powerful movement of the Tent Embassy at "The Block" between Lewis and Everleigh Street.

For more information on sites of protest and cultural empowerment, scan the QR Code to download the Barani Barrabugu Walk Tour booklet, or visit: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0004/109777/BaramiBarabuguWalkTour_v3.pdf