Settler colonialism queers indigenous peoples: Madeleine Clark, ‘Indigenous Subjectivity in Australia: Are we Queer?’, Journal of Global Indigeneity, 1, 1, 2015

30Dec15

Abstract: The introduction of queer theory in Australian Indigenous contexts presents powerful possibilities and challenging complexities; for the building of new histories, the inhabiting of the historical space, the “queering” of ideas of blood, family, community and lineage, and the limits of “being” and “doing” as they relate to bodies and genders. Queer First Nations people in settler-colonial contexts, particularly in Turtle Island, have begun to drawn on Queer theory to extend their understandings of colonialism and Indigenous sexualities. This paper will explore this move towards queer theory and analysis, in particular examining the recent introduction of the “subjectless critique” to Indigenous studies, changing the terms of engagement with colonialist histories and structures to argue that colonialism is a system of normativity which “queers” settlers and Indigenous people alike. The paper will challenge this mode of critique and contextualise it within Australian Indigenous studies, drawing on feminist theory, queer theory, decolonisation theory and critical race studies. It will also explore the politics of naming our experiences and histories as ‘queer’ given the western history and exclusivity of the term and the community surrounding it. This calls into question the politics of reclaimation; of language, history, and embodiment, and demands a reading of Indigenous gender and sexuality under regimes of global colonialism.



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