Indigenist Standpoint Pedagogy: Re-envisioning Australian history with once silenced voices and women’s knowledge

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Australian nation building and identity formation, though the colonial historical tradition, celebrated white male achievement. This resulted in the silencing and erasure of Indigenous peoples, women, their knowledges, and their agency. Indigenous peoples and women have been absent from national history due to archival or source material being constructed by patriarchal culture. W.E.H. Stanner referred to this as the “great Australian silence”. This silence is most evident in the celebration and commemoration of colonial scientific exploration, where it was understood that ‘successful’ colonial scientific exploration required cross-cultural skills and knowledge. However, these skills and knowledge were only recognised and celebrated as the property of white men – a form of Australian masculinity – which was used to further legitimate white possession. The colonial historical tradition and the construction of an Australian masculinity informed the developing discipline of anthropology. Throughout Australian history, social knowledge produced through the discipline of Australian anthropology has been used to inform government policy and pedagogy. This chapter illustrates how the colonial historical tradition and knowledge produced through the discipline of anthropology created a divide between concepts of gender (or sex), ethnicity (or race), and class, reinforcing the divide between the ‘natural’ and social sciences. A hybrid and situated methodology, that combines ‘Indigenist Standpoint Pedagogy’ (Phillips, 2021) and a critical (auto)ethnographic approach which addresses my own positionality and privilege as a white feminist academic is applied to selected archival sources, oral histories, popular colonial historiography, and visual works. This ethnographic history prioritises the once silenced women’s knowledge, to re-envision a shared history. This has implications for recent and growing interest in “embedding” Indigenous knowledges, Indigenising content, and recent debate around Indigenous ecological practices and identity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender, Feminist and Queer Studies
Subtitle of host publicationPower, Privilege and Inequality in a Time of Neoliberal Conservatism
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2023


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