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Tim Rowse

Tim Rowse

Tim Rowse holds honorary positions at Western Sydney University and the Australian National University His books include Indigenous and Other Australians Since 1901 (UNSW Press, 2017) and (co-edited with Lawrence Bamblett and Fred Myers) The Difference Identity Makes (Aboriginal Studies Press, 2019).

Tim Rowse reviews ‘Malinowski: Odyssey of an anthropologist 1884–1920’ by Michael W. Young

March 2005, no. 269 01 March 2005
Of all the social scientists ever supported by an Australian government, Bronislaw Malinowksi had the biggest impact on twentieth-century thought. His ‘functionalist’ theory of culture in the early 1920s – using evidence that he had collected in Australia’s New Guinea territories during World War I – challenged evolutionism. Instead of ranking cultures on a developmental scale from ‘pr ... (read more)

Tim Rowse reviews ‘Recognizing Aboriginal Title: The Mabo case and Indigenous resistance to English settler colonialism’ by Peter H. Russell

November 2005, no. 276 01 November 2005
Peter Russell, a distinguished Canadian student of the politics of the judiciary, asks if ‘my people’ – the English settlers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US – can live honourably. Is their authority defensible against indigenous people’s charge that ‘my people’ bullied them out of their sovereignty? Because European colonial power has been shadowed by a sense of moral u ... (read more)

Tim Rowse reviews ‘Australia: Nation, belonging, and globalization’ by Anthony Moran

September 2005, no. 274 01 September 2005
Australians have been experiencing ‘intensified globalisation’ in the last twenty years. That is, our political leaders, ‘under the sway of neo-liberal ideology’, have made decisions that have ‘intensified’ the ‘widening, deepening and speeding up of worldwide inter- connectedness in all aspects of contemporary social life’ (David Held). They have curbed the influence of arbitratio ... (read more)

Tim Rowse reviews ‘A World of Relationships: Itineraries, dreams, and events in the Australian Western Desert’ by Sylvie Poirier

August 2006, no. 283 01 August 2006
We use the term ‘The Dreaming’ to refer to an Aboriginal way of thinking about their place in the universe; it is ‘a cosmology, an ancestral order, and a mytho-ritual structure’, in the words of Canadian anthropologist Sylvie Poirier. The Western Desert people with whom she lived for many months in the 1980s and 1990s (the Kukatja – though she acknowledges the difficulties of such labels ... (read more)

Tim Rowse reviews ‘Mixed Relations: Histories and stories of Asian–Aboriginal contact in north Australia’ by Regina Ganter (with Julia Martinez and Gary Lee)

February 2006, no. 278 01 February 2006
In recent years, ‘White Australia’ has become an episode in Australian history whose inception, imperfect execution and demise must be explained. Regina Ganter and her coauthors dwell on its spatial, as well as temporal, limits. ‘In the far northern townships, the dominant lived experience was not of a white Australia but of a polyethnic one.’ In northern coastal towns – particularly Bro ... (read more)

Tim Rowse reviews 'Take this child ... from Kahlin Compound to the Retta Dixon Children's Home' by Barbara Cummings

February–March 1991, no. 128 01 February 1991
Barbara Cummings’s history combines archival research, interviews with her peers, and autobiography to declare the common experiences of an Aboriginal subculture, the ex-inmates of the Retta Dixon Home in Darwin. She deems it ‘a first step in our healing process’. It is also an outstanding contribution to feminist and Aboriginal history. ... (read more)

Tim Rowse reviews 'Mining and Indigenous Peoples in Australasia' by J. Connell and R. Howitt (eds.), and 'Aborigines and Diamond Mining: the politics of resource development in the East Kimberley Western Australia' by R.A. Dixon and M.C. Dillon (eds.

September 1992, no. 144 01 September 1992
If John Hewson leads the next Australian government, we are likely to see a reversal of the current government ban on mining at Coronation Hill and the lifting of other impediments to mining. Should the fight to preserve an indigenous right to negotiate other’s access to mineralised lands have to be renewed, these two books will make invaluable background reading. They document the awesome polit ... (read more)

Tim Rowse reviews 'Ancestral Connections: Art and an Aboriginal system of knowledge' by Howard Morphy

December 1992, no. 147 01 December 1992
Morphy’s monograph is an instance of a problem in anthropological writing about Australian Aboriginal people, a problem of audiences. The public this book will reach (and please and enrich enormously) is international, made up of several thousand mostly Anglophone anthropologists students of art, particularly those researching or teaching about the contexts in which the art of non-Western people ... (read more)

Tim Rowse reviews 'Room for Manoeuvre: Writings on history, politics, ideas and play' selected and edited by Leonie Sandercock and Stephen Murray-Smith

August 1982, no. 43 01 August 1982
A joke told annually and publicly for fourteen years closes this collection of Ian Turner’s work. From 1965 to 1978, Turner delivered the Ron Barassi Memorial Lecture and so created the site of an imagined overlap between the more formal rituals of the intellectual culture and the rowdy world of spectatordom, the VFL, the most visible and familiar self-presentation of the popular. He fabricated ... (read more)

Tim Rowse reviews 'Hidden Histories: Black stories from the Victoria River Downs, Humbert River and Wave Hill stations' by Deborah Bird Rose

September 1991, no. 134 05 March 2020
If the stories brought together in this book had been arranged according to a chronological narrative, it would go something like this: Around the middle of the nineteenth century, Aboriginal people in what would later be called the Victoria River country (Northern Territory) were affected by a new disease, smallpox, which came from the north; many succumbed to its hideous embrace. Possibly, th ... (read more)
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