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About the speaker

Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson is a Goenpul woman of the Quandamooka people (Moreton Bay). She is Professor of Indigenous Research, School of Social Science, University of Queensland, and Australia’s first Indigenous Distinguished Professor. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities and an hon. Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Moreton-Robinson was the founding Director of the Australian Research Council’s National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN) and a former President of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium (NATSIHEC). She is the founding President of the Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA).

Moreton-Robinson’s publications include her first monograph: Talkin Up to the White Woman: Indigenous Women and Feminism (UQP) 2000 is a seminal work in the field of Critical Indigenous Studies. Her second monograph The White Possessive: Property, Power and Indigenous Sovereignty (2015) won the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association’s (NAISA) subsequent book prize in 2016. Her edited collections include Critical Indigenous Studies: Engagements in First World Locations, 2016 Arizona Press, Arizona. Transnational Whiteness Matters, 2008 Lexington Books, United Kingdom, Sovereign Subjects: Indigenous Sovereignty Matters, 2007 Allen and Unwin, New South Wales; Whitening Race: Essays in Social and Cultural Criticism in Australia, 2004 Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra. Professor Moreton-Robinson serves on several editorial boards and was the first Aboriginal scholar appointed to the prestigious American Studies Association’s flagship journal American Quarterly. She was President Elect Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA) in 2021.

Prior to her life in the academy, Professor Moreton-Robinson worked in public administration and served as a board member on several Indigenous community organisations. She is currently a board member of the Indigenous rights advocacy organisation:  Foundation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research Action LTD (FAIRA).

Seminar Overview 

In the past decade ‘race’ has surfaced in public discourse concerning constitutional reform to limit the capacity of parliament’s race powers to discriminate negatively against Indigenous people and people of colour. This paper situates past and present key legal definitions of race to consider evolving meanings in historical and contemporary context. It argues that while ‘race’ is understood by science as a biological fiction, the law continues to import biology to give meaning to its effect.

About UQ Poche Seminar Series on Indigenous Health

Our Seminar Series brings together the Indigenous health research community. This series showcases high-quality presentations from researchers, academics, HDR students, health professionals and community leaders.

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