A twentieth-anniversary edition of this tour de force in feminism and Indigenous studies, now with a new preface
The twentieth anniversary of the original publication of this influential and prescient work is commemorated with a new edition of Talkin’ Up to the White Woman by Aileen Moreton-Robinson. In this bold book, of its time and ahead of its time, whiteness is made visible in power relations, presenting a dialogic of how white feminists represent Indigenous women in discourse and how Indigenous women self-present.
Moreton-Robinson argues that white feminists benefit from colonization: they are overwhelmingly represented and disproportionately predominant, play the key roles, and constitute the norm, the ordinary, and the standard of womanhood. They do not self-present as white but rather represent themselves as variously classed, sexualized, aged, and abled. The disjuncture between representation and self-presentation of Indigenous women and white feminists illuminates different epistemologies and an incommensurability in the social construction of gender.
Not so much a study of white womanhood, Talkin’ Up to the White Woman instead reveals an invisible racialized subject position represented and deployed in power relations with Indigenous women. The subject position occupied by middle-class white women is embedded in material and discursive conditions that shape the nature of power relations between white feminists and Indigenous women—and the unjust structural relationship between white society and Indigenous society.
About the Author
Aileen Moreton-Robinson is a Goenpul woman of the Quandamooka people (Moreton Bay) and professor of Indigenous research at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. She is Australia’s first Indigenous Distinguished Professor and a founding member of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. In 2020, she was elected an international honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities. Her books include The White Possessive: Property, Power, and Indigenous Sovereignty (Minnesota, 2015); Critical Indigenous Studies: Engagements in First World Locations; and the Routledge Handbook of Critical Indigenous Studies.