‘Don’t make me play house-n***er’

Indigenous academic women treated as ‘black performer’ within higher education

Amy Thunig*, Tiffany Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In an era where higher education institutions appear increasingly committed to what Sara Ahmed calls ‘speech acts’ whereby declared goodwill, through stated commit- ments to diversity, equity, and increasing Indigenous student enrolment and comple- tion have been made; it is undeniable that Indigenous academics are in high demand. With fewer than 430 Indigenous academics currently employed here on the conti- nent now commonly referred to as ‘Australia’, and 69% of that cohort identifying as female, what does it look like to experience this demand as an Indigenous academic woman? Drawing on data collected from a Nation-wide study in 2019 of 17 one- on-one, face-to-face interviews with Indigenous academic women, using Indigenous research methodologies and poetic transcription, this paper explores the experiences and relational aspects of Indigenous academic women’s roles in Australian higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
JournalThe Australian Educational Researcher
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Aug 2020


  • Indigenous
  • Australia
  • higher education
  • academia
  • female
  • discrimination
  • sovereignty
  • colonisation
  • Aboriginal

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