The Indigenous peoples of Australia have a proud history of participation and the achievement of excellence in Australian sports. Historically, Australian sports have provided a rare and important social context in which Indigenous Australians could engage with and participate in non-Indigenous society. Today, Indigenous Australian people in sports continue to provide important points of reference around which national public dialogue about racial and cultural relations in Australia takes place.
Yet much media coverage surrounding these issues and almost all academic interest concerning Indigenous people and Australian sports is constructed from non-Indigenous perspectives. With a few notable exceptions, the racial and cultural implications of Australian sports as viewed from an Indigenous Australian Studies perspective remains understudied. The media coverage and academic discussion of Indigenous people and Australian sports is largely constructed within the context of Anglo-Australian nationalist discourse, and becomes most emphasised when reporting on aspects of ‘racial and cultural’ explanations of Indigenous sporting excellence and failures associated anomalous behaviour.
This book investigates the many ways that Indigenous Australians have engaged with Australian sports and the racial and cultural readings that have been associated with these engagements. Questions concerning the importance that sports play in constructions of Australian indigeneities and the extent to which these have been maintained as marginal to Australian national identity are the central critical themes of this book.
This book was published as a special issue of Sport in Society.
Table of Contents
1. Indigenous studies and race relations in Australian sports 2. Aborigines, sport and suicide 3. Indigeneity and the performance of corporeal masculinities in the Australian Football League 4. Bridging the Indigenous health divide: football and men engaging 5. Warlpiri warriors: Australian Rules football in Central Australia 6. Duelling paradigms: Australian Aborigines, marn-grook and football histories 7. Contested space – the Australian Aboriginal sporting arena 8. A modern day Corroboree – the New South Wales Annual Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout Carnival 9. Voices from the boundary line: the Australian Football League’s Indigenous Team of the Century 10. The question of indigenous origins and the unlevel playing field: outside the boundary of the dominant paradigm
Christopher J. Hallinan is a Senior Research Fellow with the Monash Indigenous Centre at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. His research interests are within the politics of ethnic, racial and national identities, and ethnographic research methods.
Barry Judd is Associate Professor with School of Global Studies at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Barry is a descendent of the Pitjantjatjara people of north west South Australia and British immigrants who settled on the Victorian goldfields in the 1850s.