The “White Magic” of Modernity: Retracing Indigenous Environmental Knowledge in Settler-Colonialist Australia

  • Carsten Wergin


Wergin presents original material drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in a conflict situation over the construction of a AUD $45 billion liquefied natural gas facility on top of an Indigenous heritage site: Walmadany/James Price Point, at the Indian Ocean coast of Northwest Australia. It discusses, from an emic point of view, the inadequacy of western science terminology to represent Indigenous knowledge about the environment in question. To overcome related shortcomings in assessment processes of natural and cultural values, Wergin argues for ways in which western law und science can be better equipped first to recognise Indigenous knowledge as ontologically different but equal, and second to overcome the impossible task of expressing Indigenous world(view)s in modernist terms.


Aboriginal People Indigenous Knowledge Indigenous Group Western Science Humpback Whale 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carsten Wergin
    • 1
  1. 1.HeidelbergGermany

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