Racial penal governance in Australia and moments of appearance: disrupting disappearance and visibilizing women on the inside

Lara Palombo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The paper considers the lives of women that are invisibilized by the racial penal governing mechanisms of the settler state. It demonstrates how a racial penal governance is configured historically by its interlockings with multiple and hierarchical systems of oppression that intervene differently in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and women, convict women, racialized diaspora and marginalized white women. The paper engages with four ‘moments of appearances’ that interrupt and speak back to racial penal governance. Mirzoeff’s The appearance of Black Lives Matter (2017, https://namepublications.org/item/2017/the-appearance-of-black-lives-matter/) theorization of decolonial spaces of appearance is integrated to the analysis of historical and recent moments of appearance visibilized in the testimonials of Thomas Brune, the Aboriginal youth Co-editor of the Flinders Island Chronicle in 1837 in the Wybalenna prison Camp and of Zoe, Alison and Pamela who have lived experience of prisons. These are embodied moments that make lives in prisons appear and matter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1178-1193
Number of pages16
Issue number7
Early online date12 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2020


  • incarceration
  • gender
  • intersectionality
  • penal governance
  • race
  • women

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