An Appreciation of Difference: WEH Stanner and Aboriginal by Melinda Hinkson, Jeremy Beckett

By Melinda Hinkson, Jeremy Beckett

The paintings of popular Australian anthropologist WEH Stanner is given old and analytical context during this choice of contributions from a few of Australia’s top lecturers within the box of Aboriginal reviews. knowledgeable through pioneers of anthropology, together with Bronislaw Malinowski, Stanner undertook paintings in Australia, Africa, and the Pacific, and helped to notify public understandings of Aboriginal ideals and faith, in addition to federal coverage in the direction of them. Demonstrating the ongoing relevance of his paintings in gentle of present debates on Aboriginal affairs, this exam is a reminder of the numerous influence Stanner had not just on social technology yet at the complete world.

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His time with the directorate, to which he was transferred in October 1943, was not happy. Stanner opposed what he considered the grandiose plans for a post-war Papua New Guinea that were hatched by the DORCA ‘boys’, as they called themselves. His disagreements with them were ideological and personal. At the same time he rarely missed an opportunity to further his prospects for a career either in the bureaucracy or the academy in Australia. the prime minister’s committee on national morale At the end ofâ•› June 1942 Stanner was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Committee on National Morale chaired by Alfred A Conlon.

Stanner was out of step with those from the LSE and the directorate who saw themselves at the vanguard of enlightened postwar colonial policy. Stanner’s apparent support of a pre-war British colonial system was anathema to the directorate (Hasluck 1980, passim). Commenting on Lucy Mair and her appointment to DORCA, Stanner noted that she was part of a small, self-interested coterie at the LSE which included Audrey Richards ‘and one or two others with whose views I have disagreed’. He believed he could ‘count on Radcliffe-Brown and EvansPritchard; and I think also…Firth’ for support.

Read as a collection of essays, a multi-dimensional picture of Stanner’s outlook emerges, yet we have not attempted to force interpretations or analyses where unanswered questions remain. We have suggested that one cost of Stanner’s diverse commitments was that much of his work remained unpublished. 14 This also makes it difficult to fully evaluate his real achievements. Stanner’s archive leaves the impression he intended to achieve much more, especially work of the kind that might influence public opinion: the ‘big book on Aborigines’ he referred to himself as writing over more than two decades was never completed.

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