Aboriginalising the curriculum: Transcending Australian geography’s dark past

Dr Stewart Williams1, Mr Rob Anders1, Dr Roger Vreugdenhil1, Prof. Jason Byrne1

1University Of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia

 

Australian geography has been implicated in the white settler colonial project, in many ways acting as a ‘minion’ to invasion. Griffith Taylor’s survey of Australia’s physiography, for example, was simultaneously a masterful work in physical and human geography, an uncomfortable homage to environmental determinism, and a distasteful project – complicit in the emptying of the Australian landscape of Aboriginal people, legitimising dispossession. Undoing the harm of this past is a crucial mandate for geography education, and much work is already underway. This paper reports on a workshop with Aboriginal people and Australian geography educators in Tasmania, as a starting point for how Tasmanian geography can come to terms with its history of genocide, dispossession and a politics of extinction. The workshop generated valuable insights into: learning to live lorefully on Country; building a community of practice; and how to integrate the knowledge and practices of Aboriginal people into the geography curriculum. Lessons learned are informing curriculum renewal and building new relationships.

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