Learning to Stand with Gyack: A Practice of Thinking with Non-Innocent Care
Australian Feminist Studies
Settler colonialism attempts to make invisible the labours of care that Indigenous peoples have been doing for millennia. Notably, the imposition of settler colonial ontologies-epistemologies disrupt and compromise Indigenous people’s obligations to land and ancestors (Kwaymullina, Ambelin. 2020. Living on Stolen Land. Broome: Magabala Books, 7). Kim Tallbear calls upon settler scholars to think more expansively about what counts as the benefits and risks of research (2014. “Standing With and Speaking as Faith: A Feminist-Indigenous Approach to Inquiry.” Journal of Research Practice 10 (2): 1–7. http://jrp.icaap.org/index.php/jrp/article/view/405/371, 2). She asks settler scholars to learn to ‘stand with’ a community and be willing to be altered and revise one’s stake in knowledge production (Tallbear, Kim. 2014. “Standing With and Speaking as Faith: A Feminist-Indigenous Approach to Inquiry.” Journal of Research Practice 10 (2): 1–7. http://jrp.icaap.org/index.php/jrp/article/view/405/371, 2). What does my feminist ethics of care, which strives to unsettle my settler colonial logic of knowledge production, look like? To respond, I will reflect upon a collaborative cultural revitalisation project with Wolgalu and Wiradjuri First Nations community in Brungle-Tumut (New South Wales, Australia). The social world I am imbedded in is different from that of Wolgalu/Wiradjuri colleagues. How is meaning negotiated in the encounter between settler colonial and Aboriginal practices of care and knowledge production? It’s a methodological conundrum, which requires thinking with care. Maria Puig de la Bellacasa conceptualises thinking with care as a thick, non-innocent obligation of living in interdependent worlds (2017. Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 19). I want to practice non-innocent care.
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