Dr Debbie Bargallie and I have published an article in the journal, Current Sociology in which we discuss the uses of critical race and critical Indigenous approaches to the theorisation of race, antiracism, and Indigenous sovereignty in colonial Australia.
The article is titled, Beyond convergence and divergence: Towards a ‘both and’ approach to critical race and critical Indigenous studies in Australia and it takes up the path-breaking work on race and Indigeneity of Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson, a Goenpul woman of the Quandamooka nation and one of Australia’s leading academics, as well as several other Indigenous scholars and others looking for potential synergies, but also pointing out the gaps, between critical race and critical Indigenous approaches. It builds on the useful approach introduced by Ali Meghji of a theoretical synergy between, in his case, CRT and decolonize approaches.
Beyond all else, what we urgently need in Australia is more openness to conversation about how we can build together to build urgent responses to the clarity of racial rule, and so we conclude:
We suggest that the resources for co-theorizing race as a persistent structure of domination, Indigeneity as both a racializing legacy and a source of empowering identification and basis for action, and Indigenous sovereignty as the unyielding reality that undergirds Indigenous survival are already abundant. What is lacking is an institutional commitment to supporting and sustaining work that is being done by scholars in and outside the academy. We recognize that race, while manifesting in specific ways that are context dependent, is also a globally travelling force, necessarily always already ‘in translation’ (Stam and Shohat, 2012). We, therefore, require more dialogue both within the few spaces we have carved out in Australia and beyond these shores, with others involved in the myriad approaches to race scholarship broadly conceived – from critical race theory, to race critical theory, decolonial and critical Indigenous studies, and within sociology and beyond – in ways that will help us to refine and deepen this work. We will not win by further particularizing and thus isolating ourselves, a move which replicates race itself with its drive to splinter, sub-categorize, and split. Not only will Australian race work benefit from this greater opening, but an international scholarly terrain which has overwhelmingly ignored the salience of Australia as a key example of race at work, will gain and grow.