Relationalist ethical impulse amidst colonial violence

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Exploring Indigenous Settler Relations Critical Public Conversations: Relationalist ethical impulse amidst colonial violence

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This webinar is the second in the Indigenous Settler Relations Collaboration's 2021 Critical Public Conversations series: Exploring Indigenous Settler Relations.

Relationalism is a central conceptual and practical feature of Aboriginal political ordering. We first articulate some of the key elements and characteristics of this relationism as posited in our contribution to the recuperative work of articulating Aboriginal political philosophy. Second, we argue that this relationalism enables and produces an ethical impulse contra survivalist and sovereign tendencies of western political thought, leading to the claim that relationalism is a vehicle for the pursuit of Aboriginal-informed political ordering and Australian nation-building. Third, we ask: How might such relationalism be mobilised amidst our present settler-colonial relations? We argue that recalibrating relations with land and place are a way to begin, but that mobilising relationalism requires viscerally inhabiting relations of intimate entanglement that mix support with destruction, care with brutal violence (including the state killing of deaths in custody), and appreciation with shocking disregard.


Associate Professor Morgan Brigg blends theory and practice in examining the interplay of culture, governance and selfhood in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, governance, and international development. He worked in conflict resolution and mediation prior to his academic career, and he continues to practice as a nationally accredited mediator and facilitator. His research develops ways of knowing and working across cultural difference which draw upon Indigenous approaches to political community. Current projects examine ways of recuperating Indigenous forms of governance and conflict resolution, and the promise of ideas of relationality for making the field of conflict resolution a genuinely global endeavour.

Dr. Mary Graham is a Kombumerri person (Gold Coast) through her father’s heritage and affiliated with Wakka Wakka (South Burnett) through her mother’s people.

Mary has worked across several government agencies, community organisations and universities including: Department of Community Services, Aboriginal and Islander Childcare Agency, the University of Queensland and the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action. Mary has also worked extensively for the Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action, as a Native Title Researcher and was also a Regional Counsellor for the former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

Mary has been a lecturer with The University of Queensland, teaching Aboriginal history, politics and comparative philosophy. She has also lectured nationally on these subjects, and developed and implemented ‘Aboriginal Perspective’s’, ‘Aboriginal Approaches to Knowledge’ and at the post-graduation level ‘Aboriginal Politics’ into university curricula.


This event will be lived captioned.

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Photo by Alessia Francischiello on Unsplash

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