The papers in this volume arise from a politics of ‘acting sovereign’ in the face of discourses of gendered protectionism focused on Indigenous and Muslim women in Australia. Discourses of ‘protection’ have been deployed to legitimize ongoing colonial relations, particularly in terms of the Intervention into Northern Territory Indigenous communities and the policing of Muslim communities during the ‘war on terror’. In this editorial we outline the contemporary politics of gendered protection and the possibilities for ‘acting sovereign’, as well as introducing a series of workshops convened in order to explore possibilities for alliances and interventions around these themes. The ‘Gender, Violence, Protection’ workshops developed important understandings around the politics of speaking and listening, of alliance-building and creating safe spaces, grounded in Indigenous sovereignties and the (im)possible challenges of co-existence and conversation in contexts of colonial violence justified as ‘protection’.
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