On Settler Notions of Social Justice: The Importance of Disrupting and Displacing Colonising Narratives

  • Sheelagh Daniels-MayesEmail author
  • Valerie Harwood
  • Nyssa Murray


Universities have a unique responsibility to social justice with Aboriginal peoples. Yet settler privilege is evident in how teaching standards and research funding are determined predominantly by government, delivered and driven by universities born out of dispossessing colonisation. Consequently, research projects intended to disrupt/displace settler narratives of social justice run the risk of being sucked back into the mainstreamed system (Castagno, Educated in whiteness: Good intentions and diversity in schools. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2014; Ladson-Billings and Tate, Toward a critical race theory of education. In A. Dimon & C. Rousseau (Eds.), Critical race theory in education: All God’s children got a song (p. 1130). New York: Routledge, 2006), perpetuating university privilege rather than fulfilling the university’s social justice responsibilities. This chapter explores ways universities can work alongside Aboriginal peoples and communities. Drawing on the Arendtian idea of responsibility, the authors ask: could universities better engage in social justice with Aboriginal people if responsibility meant the welcoming of initiatives that might challenge the university and its traditions?


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheelagh Daniels-Mayes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Valerie Harwood
    • 1
  • Nyssa Murray
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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