Theorising Engagement in Remote Aboriginal Intercultural Contexts

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Every day, across the Northern Territory, the staff of our small regional university (Charles Darwin University) meet and work together with Indigenous Australians. What happens in these day-to-day interactions can
be understood differently, sometimes radically differently, by the different parties. Community engagement can help us understand what goes on in these interactions and it can help us chart a way forward together.

Our interest is in developing a theory and practice of intercultural engagement in remote Aboriginal contexts that is both instrumental and moral, and contributes to the decolonisation of the Australian academy.
We live in a country founded on dispossession. As teachers and researchers working with Aboriginal people we can and do find ourselves in what Deborah Bird-Rose calls "harsh situations [in which] ethical dialogue requires that we acknowledge and understand our particular and harshly situated presence" (Bird-Rose 2004, 22). The acts of the past, though not committed by us personally, still live in the present of the Aboriginal people we work with and continue to structure how they live and the fi.ttures to which they aspire. We recognise that our work, in its own small way, is a space in which we can confront the past so that we might create a future founded on "a confrontation with the shame involved in Aboriginal dispossession, in the spirit of constructive reparation" (Moran 2002, I 034 ).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKnowledge in Action
Subtitle of host publicationUniversity-Community Engagement in Australia
EditorsIsabelle Bartkowiak-Theron, Kathryn Anderson
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherCambridge Scholars Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978-1-4438-6137-3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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