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Blackfellas, Whitefellas, and the Hidden Injuries of Race

ISBN: 978-1-4051-1403-5
288 pages
January 2004, Wiley-Blackwell
Blackfellas, Whitefellas, and the Hidden Injuries of Race (1405114037) cover image
In December 1997, in a small town in rural Australia, a fight broke out among local Aborigines that turned into a full-blown riot when police intervened in force. In Blackfellas, Whitefellas, and the Hidden Injuries of Race, anthropologist Gillian Cowlishaw uses this vivid incident as a means of launching a larger discussion about race, identity, and racialized violence.

  • Brings indigenous Australians into the contemporary global race discourse in a lively, highly readable ethnography.
  • Explores the local and national meanings of a race riot in Australia and the entrenched racial binary evident in everyday relationships.
  • Raises questions about history, memory, citizenship, respect, and abjection as means of considering the politics, social science, and psychology of race rivalry and indigenous marginality.
  • Written by a prominent scholar with clarity, verve, and accessibility both for beginners and those well-versed in contemporary debates.
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Acknowledgments.

Maps.

Prologue: Riotous Tales.

1. Introductions: The Signs of Social Life.

2. Stigma and Complaint.

3. Injury and Agency.

4. Performance.

5. Boundaries.

6. Violence.

7. Citizenship.

8. Our History.

9. Trials and Transformations.

Bibliography.

Index.
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Gillian Cowlishaw is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Australia.
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  • Brings indigenous Australians into the contemporary global race discourse in a lively, highly readable ethnography.
  • Explores the local and national meanings of a race riot in Australia and the entrenched racial binary evident in everyday relationships.
  • Raises questions about history, memory, citizenship, respect, and abjection as means of considering the politics, social science, and psychology of race rivalry and indigenous marginality.
  • Written by a prominent scholar with clarity, verve, and accessibility both for beginners and those well-versed in contemporary debates.
See More
Winner of the Gleebooks Prize for Critical Writing 2005, a New South Wales Premier's Literary Award

"Would that we all perform our duties with the sophisticated balance of sensitivity, objectivity, and thoroughness that Cowlishaw shows in this work." Journal of Anthropological Research

"[T]his finely observed qualitative study... poses questions that resonate far beyond the research site, exploring issues that will be of interest to specialists on settler societies as well as to students of ethnic and racial relations in general.... Blackfellas, Whitefellas is a powerful book... an elegant and compelling argument." Ethnic and Racial Studies

"Everybody should read this book." The Australian Journal of Anthropology

"This is an unusually important book for anyone concerned with understanding race relations in settler colonies--not only Australia, but also Canada and the United States. What can ‘multiculturalism’ mean when it comes to indigenous peoples and white majorities? A talented ethnographer and relentlessly critical thinker, Gillian Cowlishaw examines these matters with theoretical sophistication and compelling ethnographic description. She brilliantly helps the reader to understand how and why local people identify and act in racialized ways, and she demonstrates both the psychic gains and the personal injuries that inevitably inhere to race. Perhaps the greatest contribution of Cowlishaw’s book is the nuanced weaving together of a performative analysis of racial agency;…this is as much about the production of national white privilege as it is about local-level race-making. The reader---whether a racial minority or a member of a national racial majority---will inevitably see herself implicated in this penetrating description of race. This is the best kind of anthropology." Tom Biolsi, Portland State University

"In this rich, highly readable ethnographic account, Gillian Cowlishaw seeks to reveal the ‘hidden injuries’ of race relations in a small rural town in north-western NSW. She eloquently develops her analysis around a particular social drama - a ‘riot’ that occurred in the main street in 1997, after police intervened in a fight among local Aboriginal people. ... Blackfellas, Whitefellas, and the Hidden Injuries of Race is a critically important study, and essential reading, not just for all anthropologists interested in Australia, but for anyone searching for a way to understand the everyday practices and performances of race and racism as well as the irruptions of full-blown racialized violence that become front-page news. Perhaps Cowlishaw’s most valuable contribution is the highly accessible way in which she articulates her discussion with the voices of Indigenous people." -Rosita Henry, James Cook University

"Dense, well-argued, fascinating and insightful, the book offers fresh perspectives that seriously challenge contemporary understandings and accepted perceptions... Using the 'so-called' Bourke riots as a focus for a discussion of race and associated topics, Gillian Cowlishaw shows how powerfully a non-Indigenous author can address such circumstances... remarkable." Rural Society

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