Take our poll and provide feedback
A memento of ASOPA’s final golden year

How a home-grown discipline was forged

Cautious_silence When I met Dr Ruth Fink Latukefu in the common room at the Macleay Museum last week, she was brandishing a copy of Dr Geoffrey Gray’s latest book, ‘A Cautious Silence’. It was, in the circumstances of an exhibition featuring the first generation of Australian anthropologists, an apposite choice of reading.

In this book, Geoff, who will we hope later this year begin work on the first definitive history of ASOPA, explores the foundations of modern Australian social anthropology, examining the forces that shaped it and revealing the struggle to establish it as an academic discipline.

He argues that to achieve this position, anthropologists had to demonstrate that their discipline was the predominant interpreter of indigenous life. Having done this, they were able to assist government in the control, development and advancement of indigenous peoples especially in Papua New Guinea and Australia. Indeed, it is arguable that, without an Australian Anthropology, there may have not been an ASOPA – although this is my conclusion not Geoff’s.

You can find out more about ‘A Cautious Silence’ and also read a chapter from the book by visiting this website.

‘A Cautious Silence: The politics of Australian anthropology’, Geoffrey Gray, Aboriginal Studies Press, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Canberra, August 2001, paperback, 304 pp, RRP $39.95


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)