Alfred Deakin Institute
The Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI) is a leading humanities and social sciences research institute based at Deakin University, Australia. Our researchers aim to understand the complex meanings of citizenship, social inclusion and globalisation, and investigate the imp

Heritage and Indigeneity

Distinctive social, cultural and historical relationships between persons, places and things lie at the heart of what it means to be human. Members of our stream share a keen interest in interrogating these relationships.

The concept of heritage is entangled with questions of temporality, power, agency, knowledge, materiality, scale, and place. The concept of Indigeneity foregrounds the politics and processes involved in representing in particular terms peoples who identify variously as prior, indigenous, Aboriginal, first nations. Within our stream we support scholars whose research interests engage either or both fields of enquiry.

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Our Research

We take up the concepts of heritage and indigeneity as categories of critical enquiry and fields of practical and political contestation, at local, national and transnational scales. Critical concerns of heritage and indigeneity come together in debates about colonialism, sovereignty, governance, identity, inequality, place-making, post-conflict reconstruction, representation and social memory.

We have particular research strengths in the interpretation of cross-cultural encounters and exchange and the memory of ‘difficult heritage’, including colonial legacies and post-conflict heritage. At a time when people-place relationships are widely observed to be under considerable pressure, what kinds of encounters between indigenous, settler-colonial, and newly arrived migrant approaches to place, landscape and environment coexist and how might these be brought into more mutually beneficial interaction?

Key Research Questions

Some of the key questions that animate our members include:

  • How do actors at different scales engage with and contest understandings of their past and present?

  • How is heritage invoked as well as constructed through trans-local and transnational exchanges and what are the implications for our conception of the nation-state?

  • How do movements of people and materials produce different forms of the past in the present?

  • How do practices of cultural heritage destruction impact identity politics, the preservation of memory and result in new configurations of power and privilege?

  • What are the consequences for civil society of a national refusal to recognise the experiences and claims of indigenous people?

  • In what ways do new technologies participate in the construction and transformation of relationships between people and places, including ideas of heritage?