Decolonising truth in Australia Symposium

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A symposium organised by the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI)

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Visit the ADI website for more information about the speakers.

This symposium will take place online in October 2020, with dates to be confirmed. Please note that the dates of 1 - 31 October are a placeholder and we will confirm dates soon.

Please register your interest and we will communicate dates and agenda by email in the coming weeks.

This symposium is intended to initiate a critically important conversation about the possibilities and challenges of truth-telling in Australia. Historian Mark McKenna has recently argued that Australia stands at ‘a crossroads-a moment of truth’ where we ‘either reckon honestly with the past or unmake the nation’.

A seminal moment in relation to truth-telling was the release of the Uluru Statement in 2017 which called for Voice, Treaty and Truth. However, thus far there has been limited discussion about the form and character of a truth-telling process in Australia and how it would relate to Voice and Treaty.

Globally, truth-telling has been linked to discourses of recognition and reconciliation within a multicultural project. This symposium will explore what truth-telling with an explicitly decolonial agenda might look like. Decolonisation is understood loosely as a process that concerns not only structural changes in power relations but also undoing the enduring discursive regimes that continue to underpin settler colonial domination in countries such as Australia.

Transitional justice scholars in Australia, North America and Canada have noted the significant absence of attention in the field to the question of ‘truth’ in settler-colonial societies such as Australia who are dealing with a relatively distant colonial past. This symposium will provide an opportunity to foreground this developing discussion about the appropriate terms of truth, reconciliation, reparation and decolonisation in the wake of colonial harms.


Dr Jeff Corntassel (keynote)

Professor Lyndall Ryan (keynote)

Professor Jane Lydon

Professor Victoria Grieve Williams

Professor Lorenzo Veracini

Professor Yin Paradies

Dr Shino Konishi

Dr Vanessa Barolsky

Bios for these speakers are available on the ADI website.

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