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Indigenous Australia

Enduring Civilisation—A Personal Reflection

Howard Morphy

Over the past few years I have been fortunate to be part of a team of people working on an exhibition at the British Museum. The curator of the exhibition is Gaye Sculthorpe, Curator of Oceania at the Museum. Lissant Bolton, Keeper of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, came up with the exhibition title, Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation. The word civilization had been part of our discussions all along and her wording resolved any doubt we might have had. Civilization came to mind because it was the British Museum, because of Ancient Greece and Rome, because of Oriental Civilization, because of Kenneth Clarke, and in my case because of the title of the book A Black Civilization by the anthropologist W. Lloyd Warner.

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Linking Land and Sea

Intersections between Indigenous Peoples’ Dispossession and Asylum Seekers’ Containment by Australia

Susan Reardon-Smith

Australia’s harsh policy response to asylum seekers appears to be an extreme measure for a country that thinks of itself as a liberal democracy. Confining analyses of this regime to refugee law and policy overlooks the ways that Australia’s colonial history, Indigenous dispossession, and contemporary race relations interact with one another. Th is article argues that these historical dynamics are essential to understanding the Australian government’s response to asylum seekers in the present day, with asylum-seekers and Indigenous peoples in Australia both being utilized as tools of modern statecraft to shore up the legitimacy of the Australian state. Attention is drawn to parallels between the treatment of both Indigenous peoples and asylum seekers by the Australian government, with the increasingly harsh response to asylum seekers in Australian politics coinciding with the expansion of land rights for Indigenous Australians.

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Your “Eyesore,” My History?

People and “Dead” Cars in a Remote Aboriginal Community

Kate Senior, Richard Chenhall, and Daphne Daniels

in remote Indigenous Australia and people's continuing struggles to resist this inequality. 6 It also alerts us to the culturally specific meanings of mobilities and automobiles when explored from an Indigenous perspective. Our ethnographic focus

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Freeing the ‘Aboriginal Individual’

Deconstructing ‘Development as Freedom’ in Remote Indigenous Australia

Hannah Bulloch and William Fogarty

make explicit some of the weighty assumptions about human nature that come inconspicuously packaged with this grand idea. Of course, the idea of freedom has been employed in relation to, and by, Indigenous Australians in a multitude of ways. What we

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Kowal, Emma 2015. Trapped in the gap: doing good in Indigenous Australia. Oxford: Berghahn Books. 214 pp. Hb.: $95.00/£60.00. ISBN: 9781782385998.

Edgar Tasia

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My Words, My Literacy

Tracking of and Teaching through the On-Field Language Practices of Australian Indigenous Boys

David Caldwell, Nayia Cominos, and Katie Gloede

Achieving parity in literacy for Indigenous Australians is an ongoing, complex issue, illustrated by the many initiatives, policies, and action plans intended to “close the gap” between the literacy levels of Aboriginal students and non

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Book Reviews

Stephanie Sipei Lu, Aayushi Gupta, Linnea Wallen, Jesmael Mataga, Jason Gibson, Peter Brunt, Una Dubbelt-Leitch, Liam Holmes, Yimamu Dilinuer, and Jayne Warwick

. Ancestors, Artefacts, Empire: Indigenous Australia in British and Irish Museums Gaye Sculthorpe, Maria Nugent, and Howard Morphy, eds. London and Canberra: The British Museum Press and the National Museum of Australia, 2021. Ancestors, Artefacts, Empire

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Savages Have No Crime!

Radcliffe-Brown on Social Sanctions and the Law

Isak Niehaus

Indigenous Australians did not establish legal sovereignty over the land on which they lived. He shows that Aboriginal people had clear concepts of rights and ownership that were translatable into Western legal terms ( Asch 2009 ). The paper also challenges

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Revisiting “Driving While Black”: Racialized Automobilities in a Settler Colonial Context

Georgine Clarsen

Paul Gilroy observed in 2001 that there were “surprisingly few” discussions of automobiles in histories of African American vernacular cultures, in spite of their “epoch-making impact.” He argued that a “ distinctive history of propertylessness and material deprivation” had led to a disproportionate African American investment in automobiles. This article considers how car culture has also operated as a salve for the “indignities of white supremacy” for Indigenous Australians, though on very different terms.

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Civilizing Museums

Editorial

Sandra H. Dudley

This volume of Museum Worlds opens with Howard Morphy reflecting on his involvement in the development of the British Museum’s recent Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation exhibition. Morphy begins his commentary by ruminating on the idea of civilization and its complex relationship to museums. Historically these institutions have—together with academic disciplines—drawn upon the notion of civilization, explicitly or implicitly, to categorize objects as art or antiquities on the one hand versus craft, ethnography or material culture on the other. Of course this has also meant—still means—classifying peoples as civilized or not civilized, however directly or indirectly, intentionally or otherwise. Museums are, as Morphy points out, still “struggling with categories that have their origins in past histories.”