Indifferent Inclusion: Aboriginal People and the Australian Nation - Russell McGregor (Aboriginal Studies Press)
McGregor offers a holistic interpretation of the complex relationship between Indigenous and settler Australians during the middle four decades of the twentieth century. Combining the perspectives of political, social and cultural history in a coherent narrative, he provides a cogent analysis of how the relationship changed, and the impediments to change.
McGregor challenges existing scholarship and assumptions, particularly around assimilation. In doing so he provides an understanding of why assimilation once held the approval of many reformers.
Russell McGregor is Associate Professor of History at James Cook University in Townsville. He has published extensively on the history of settler Australian attitudes toward Aboriginal people, including the award-winning book Imagined Destinies.
While frontier violence in the colonial period has been the key battleground in the so-called ‘history wars’ in recent years, this public debate has obscured the flourishing of a far richer, deeper scholarship that has emerged in Indigenous history. Russell McGregor’s Indifferent Inclusion: Aboriginal People and the Australian Nation makes a significant contribution to this field through its nuanced understanding of the meanings of assimilation in mid-twentieth century Australia. At a time when assimilation still has its advocates in public debate, this clear, measured account of assimilation in its historical context deepens our understanding of this still-misunderstood policy ideal. McGregor considers assimilation not only as a set of political goals, but also its reception by the Australian public, and its manifestations in popular and visual culture. He renders a complex picture of assimilation, considering not just its limitations, but also its successes. This book makes a welcome and timely contribution to both public and scholarly debates about Indigenous-White relationships in Australia.