Eugenic-Thinking in Australian Popular Culture: Residues of the Stolen Generations

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


The talk will focus on key cultural moments that have brought to light the specificity of Australian eugenic thinking. Particularly, I consider Jedda (1954) in relation to recent ‘morning television’ incidents that reignited debate about the Stolen Generations and the colonial relation in Australia. Each of these moments reflect a connection that is assumed by the settler-colonial imagination, between removing children and a declared endemic ‘decline’ of Aboriginality that is conceptually separated from colonisers’ actions (although not necessarily their presence). While Jedda has often been interpreted as an ‘anti-assimilationist’ film, I argue that what connects it to both A. O. Neville’s theorising and the contemporary media frame for representing Aboriginality, is its depiction of ‘decline’ as being linked to Indigenous cultural law and practice rather than to colonisation.

The paper contributes to a panel, "Eugenic thinking in Australasia: An Anti-Eugenics Centennial," which is part of a broader series of global online events, the "From Small Beginnings" initiative.
Period3 Sept 2021
Event titleEugenic thinking in Australasia: Indigenous Australasia
Event typeOther
LocationAustraliaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational