Reading indigeneity without race: colour, representation and uncertainty in photographic evidence

Pocock, Celmara (2013) Reading indigeneity without race: colour, representation and uncertainty in photographic evidence. In: Archaeologies of 'Us' and 'Them' 2013: Debating the Ethics and Politics of Ethnicity and Indigeneity in Archaeology and Heritage Discourse, 24-26 Oct 2013, Uppsala, Sweden.

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Abstract

Indigenous histories are notoriously obscured in official and documentary records. Recovering past Indigenous perspectives depends on finding and reading fragmentary and incidental evidence. Photographic images are one such source and can potentially provide rich insights into Indigenous histories. However, the ways in which we read Indigenous people into these images, especially in settler societies such as Australia, is largely through physical differences. Such analyses often rely heavily on observed differences in skin colour.

The problems and social consequences of racial classification based on skin colour are well known within anthropology, and increasingly the discipline seeks to reject or find alternative means to discuss difference. However, in the context of reading the past through imagery, we rely on the identification of physical characteristics. This raises issues for what or who can be read as Indigenous when individuals’ cultural identities might be obscured or misrepresented by skin colour. It also has implications for representations and recognition of Indigenous peoples today and in the future.

This paper analyses some of the challenges of reading Australian Aboriginal people in images, including where Aboriginal people have (or may have) been used to represent an ‘other’ that is not necessarily their own identity; and where skin colour is not a defining element of self- identity.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: No
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2014 01:55
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2017 00:57
Uncontrolled Keywords: indigeneity; aboriginal; photographs; race; representation; heritage
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
21 History and Archaeology > 2102 Curatorial and Related Studies > 210202 Heritage and Cultural Conservation
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9503 Heritage > 950304 Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/24468

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