Author’s talk features University of Melbourne Professor Sarah Maddison, March 27

Sarah Maddison

On March 27, the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation at York University, present a special author’s talk featuring Sarah Maddison, professor in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne, Australia.

The talk will take place in Room 280N York Lanes, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. All are welcome.

Maddison, who is also the co-director of the Indigenous-Settler Relations Collaboration at the University of Melbourne, will speak about her new book, The Colonial Fantasy: Why White Australia Can’t Solve Black Problems, (Allen & Unwin, 2019).

The book issues a call for a radical restructuring of the relationship between black and white Australia.

Maddison’s book takes a critical look at Australia, which is wreaking devastation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Whatever the policy – from protection to assimilation, self-determination to intervention, reconciliation to recognition – government has done little to improve the quality of life of Indigenous people. In far too many instances, interaction with governments has only made Indigenous lives worse.

Despite this, many Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders and commentators still believe that working with the state is the only viable option. The result is constant churn and reinvention in Indigenous affairs, as politicians battle over the “right” approach to solving Indigenous problems.The Colonial Fantasy considers why Australia persists in the face of such obvious failure. It argues that white Australia can’t solve black problems because white Australia is the problem. Australia has resisted the one thing that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want, and the one thing that has made a difference elsewhere: the ability to control and manage their own lives. It calls for a radical restructuring of the relationship between black and white Australia.

Maddison is the author of Black Politics and Beyond White Guilt.