Publications

    Understanding and Teaching Native American History

    30th August, 2022

    by Kristofer Ray and Brady Desanti

    Director of the Research Centre for Deep History, Ann McGrath has contributed a chapter that focuses on lessons learned from teaching Indigenous history in Australia. Understanding and Teaching Native American History is a timely and urgently needed remedy to a long-standing gap in history instruction. While the past three decades have seen burgeoning scholarship in Indigenous studies, comparatively little of that has trickled into classrooms. This volume is designed to help teachers effectively integrate Indigenous history and culture into their lessons, providing richly researched content and resources across the chronological and geographical landscape of what is now known as North America.

    Displacing history, shifting paradigms: erasing Aboriginal antiquity from Australian anthropology

    12th May, 2022

    by Amy Way

    This article traces the formalisation of anthropology in Australia from 1880 to 1920, during which time the ‘discipline’ shifted from a framework of developmental evolution to one of structural functionalism. It argues that this paradigm shift necessitated an elimination of anthropology’s once-foundational logic of Aboriginal antiquity: severed, first, from a paired notion of human primitivity, then removed altogether.

    What is 'Deep History'?

    4th May, 2022

    by Ann Mc Grath

    This article was published in Volume 56 Issue 1 of the Teaching History journal. 'Deep history aims to address the long time span of human history that extends beyond the modern, the pre-modern, the medieval and the ancient – or at least that which is usually defined as such. This makes deep history especially important for any study of Australian history; a story that cannot be fully told without expanding our thinking about history’s periodisation. This new ‘historical turn

    Aboriginal History Journal: Volume 45

    26th April, 2022

    Edited by Crystal McKinnon, Ben Silverstein

    This volume begins with Michael Aird, Joanna Sassoon and David Trigger’s meticulous research tracing the well-known but sometimes confused identity of Jackey Jackey of the Lower Logan River in south-east Queensland. Emma Cupitt describes the multivocality and intertextuality of Radio Redfern’s coverage of Aboriginal protests in Sydney as the 1988 Australian Bicentenary celebrations took place elsewhere in the city. Similarly approaching sources for their multiplicity, Matt Poll and Amanda Harris provide a reading of the ambassadorial work performed by assemblages of Yolngu bark paintings in diverse exhibition spaces after the Second World War.

    Alison Holland, Breaking the Silence: Aboriginal Defenders and the Settler State, 1905–1939

    3rd March, 2022

    by Ben Silverstein

    In this book review, Ben Siverstein writes on 'Breaking the Silence: Aboriginal Defenders and the Settler State, 1905–1939' by Alison Holland and published by Melbourne University Press. In 1905, Alison Holland writes, the publication of the Routh report on the treatment of Aboriginal people in Western Australia was "the spark that ignited the humanitarian cause", generating decades of furious contestation around what was often called "the native problem".

    The temple of history: historians and the sacralisation of archival work

    23rd November, 2021

    by Mike Jones

    Archives have long been considered central to the work of historians, from nineteenth-century Europe to contemporary Australian practice. Rarely remarked upon is the recurring tendency for some historians to sacralise the process of archival research through the use of religious (usually Christian) symbolism, including temples and churches, sacred relics, pilgrimages, resurrection, rituals and communion.

    Deep Historicities

    12th October, 2021

    by Laura Rademaker and Ben Silverstein

    In seeking to understand the deep past, the knowledges of First Nations peoples and of the various academic disciplines can seem incommensurable. In this essay, we argue the concept of “historicities”, that is, the encultured ways of narrating and conceiving of the past offers to enrich the study of deep history. Sensitivity to the various ways the past is remembered and understood, as well as the ways in which these historicities are dialogically and relationally constructed, offers ways of bringing distinct accounts of the deep past into conversation. Through closely reading various narrations of deep histories of the Tiwi Islands, we suggest ways in which historicities might be understood as coexisting and in relation, without reducing their accounts to a single universalizable story of the past or hierarchy of knowledges. This special issue further explores decolonizing challenges to ways of knowing the deep past from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

    People of the Footprints: Rediscovery, Indigenous Historicities and the Science of Deep Time

    12th October, 2021

    by Ann McGrath

    Using a case study from one of Australia’s most significant deep history sites, “People of the footprints” shows how reconciliatory efforts to share the western scientific kudos attached to discovery have proved an uncomfortable fit with Indigenous cultural values. When a young Mutthi Mutthi woman was credited with discovering an ancient human trackway at Lake Mungo in western New South Wales, Australia in 2003, it exposed not only the footprints of her ancient ancestors of approximately 20,000 years ago, it also revealed the difficulties posed by discovery narratives for Indigenous people. Celebrating a “discovery”, with its associated “first observer” implications, is thought to be prestigious in mainstream European histories and science, yet such narratives are steeped in the justifications and mythologies of imperial sovereignty – the very ones that led to Indigenous dispossession. They are also fundamental to the kinds of western scientific paradigms that refuted Indigenous knowledge systems. Contrasting Indigenous ideas of the deep past with those of archaeologists and historians, this essay explores the problematic nature of attributing a deep time “discovery” to an Indigenous individual. Following Indigenous rewritings, and other acts of displacement and resistance, it argues the ongoing nature of the Indigenous custodians’ affective, intimate and living relationships with their ancient past.

    The Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History

    30th September, 2021

    by Ann McGrath and Lynette Russell (eds)

    The Routledge Companion to Global Indigenous History presents exciting new innovations in the dynamic field of Indigenous global history while also outlining ethical, political, and practical research. Indigenous histories are not merely concerned with the past but have resonances for the politics of the present and future, ranging across vast geographical distances and deep time

    Deep history and deep listening: Indigenous knowledges and the narration of deep pasts

    13th September, 2021

    by Ann McGrath, Laura Rademaker, and Ben Silverstein

    This article outlines the possibilities of a deep history practice that engages with rather than sidelines Indigenous historical knowledges. Many Indigenous people insist that their knowledge of the deep past demands engagement. They do so, we suggest, because scientific historicism and Indigenous knowledge-systems and historicities already impinge upon and inform each other: they are intertwined. We propose ‘deep listening’ as a way historians might contribute to bringing these practices of deep history into more explicit conversation and address some of the challenges of doing so.

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