Aileen Moreton-Robinson

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Aileen Moreton-Robinson is an Australian academic, indigenous feminist, author and activist for indigenous rights. She is an Aboriginal woman of the Goenpul tribe, part of the Quandamooka nation on Stradbroke Island in Queensland. She was the first Aboriginal person to be appointed to a mainstream lecturing position in women's studies in Australia.[1] She has held positions in women's studies at Flinders University and Indigenous studies at Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology.[2] She is currently Dean, Indigenous Research and Engagement at the Queensland University of Technology and Director of the National Indigenous Research and Knowledges Network (NIRAKN). She completed a PhD at Griffith University in 1999, her thesis was titled Talkin' up to the white woman : Indigenous women and feminism in Australia.[3] Her thesis was later published as a book in 1999[4] and was short-listed for the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards and the Stanner Award.[5]

Early life[edit]

Moreton-Robinson was born in the 1950s, of the Goenpul (Koenpul) tribe, part of the Quandamooka nation on Stradbroke Island in Queensland, Australia.[5] Aileen showed promise as a student in high school, where she received an offer of a scholarship to a Catholic boarding school, which she declined.[6] Her experience of racism and discrimination in high school led to her failing to graduate and becoming politically involved in movements for Aboriginal land rights and human rights for Aboriginal people.[6]

Aileen was later accepted to the Australian National University as a mature student, and at the time she was the only Aboriginal student at the university.[6] She completed a 1st class honors degree in Sociology from the Australian National University and her doctorate from Griffith University.[6] Aileen's doctoral thesis was titled Talkin' up to the white woman : Indigenous women and feminism in Australia.[3] Her thesis was subsequently published as a book in 1999[4] which was short-listed for the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards and the Stanner Award for indigenous writing.[5]


Moreton-Robinson's research and writing has focused on the experience of Aboriginal Australians since colonial settlement and issues of race and Whiteness studies, post-colonialism, women's studies and indigenous feminism, indigenous studies, native title law and Aboriginal land rights.[7]

Moreton-Robinson taught Indigenous studies at Griffith University in Brisbane and Women's Studies at Flinders University in Adelaide.[7] She was an Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian Studies Centre, University of Queensland. She is now Dean, Indigenous Research and Engagement at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) after formally being the Professor of Indigenous Studies.[5]

Moreton-Robinson is the Director of the National Indigenous Research Knowledges Network, a former Council Member of the Native American Indigenous Studies Association, Executive member of National, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education, President of Australian Critical whiteness studies Association, Member of Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, and has held positions on a number of boards, advisory committees and associations.[6] Moreton-Robinson established and is an editor for the International eJournal of Critical Indigenous Studies.[8]

As one of Australia's leading Indigenous academics, Distinguished Professor Moreton-Robinson receives numerous invitations to speak around the world. She has been invited to and presented at the University of Washington, University of California Los Angeles, Oberlin College, University of London, University of Geneva, University of Illinois, Dartmouth, Wesleyan University, University of Hawaii, University of Michigan and the University of Alberta.[7][9]

Distinguished Professor Moreton-Robinson developed a masterclass for Indigenous postgraduate students. The program is designed to build research skills and to improve the completion rates of Indigenous researchers. The Indigenous Research Methodologies Masterclass is the only Indigenous-designed and evidence-based model contributing to closing the education gap in Australia.[10]

On 17 June 2016 she was conferred the title of Distinguished Professor by QUT.[11]

Major Contributions to Theory[edit]

Moreton-Robinson through her series of journal articles which where complied to create the publication, "The White Possessive"[12] is considered to have made a significant contribution to the field of Indigenous Studies. Maori academic, Hemopereki Simon, refers to this collection of articles and the theory derived from them as, "The White Possessive Doctrine" during his application of Moreton-Robinson's theory to Aotearoa New Zealand.[13]

Recognition and awards[edit]

  • 2010 Australian Learning and Teaching Council Award for Excellence in Indigenous Education for the development of The Indigenous Research Methodologies Masterclass[10]


  • 2016. editor, Critical Indigenous Studies: Engagements in First World Locations, University of Arizona Press. ISBN 978-0-8165-3273-5.
  • 2015. The White Possessive, Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. ISBN 978-1-8597-3629-6.
  • 2008. with Maryrose Casey, Fiona Nicoll. Transnational Whiteness Matters, Lexington Books. ISBN 978-0-7391-3221-0.
  • 2007. Sovereign Subjects: Indigenous Sovereignty Matters (Cultural Studies) Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-7411-5701-7.
  • 2004. Aileen Moreton-Robinson, "Whiteness, epistemology, and indigenous representation", in Whitening Race: Essays In Social And Cultural Criticism, ed. Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Aboriginal Studies Press, ISBN 978-0-8557-5465-5.
  • Moreton-Robinson, A., 2004. Treaty Talk: Past, Present and Future. Ngunnawal Centre, University of Canberra, pp. 18
  • Moreton-Robinson, A. 2003. I Still Call Australia Home: Indigenous Belonging and Place in a White Postcolonizing Society in Ahmed, S., Castaneda, C., Fortier, A and Sheller, M., (Eds) Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration. Berg: Oxford. pp. 23–40 (QUT). ISBN 978-0-8166-9214-9.
  • Moreton-Robinson, A., 2003a, 'Resistance, Recovery and Revitalisation', in M Grossman (ed.), Blacklines: Contemporary Critical Writing by Indigenous Australians, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne
  • Moreton-Robinson, A., 2000. "Troubling Business: Difference and Whiteness within Feminism". Australian Feminist Studies
  • Moreton-Robinson, A., 2001. "A Possessive Investment in Patriarchal Whiteness: nullifying native title?", in P Nursey -Bray and CL Bacchi (eds), Left Directions: Is There a Third Way?, UWA Press, Crawley
  • Moreton-Robinson, A., 1999. Talkin' up to the White Woman: Aboriginal Women and Feminism. University of Queensland Press: St Lucia
  • Moreton-Robinson, A., 1999. "Unmasking Whiteness: A Goori Jondal’s look at Some Duggai Business", Queensland Review
  • Moreton-Robinson, A., 1999, 'Wrestling Whiteness, on the Journey to Truth, Justice and Reconciliation', Graduate
  • Moreton-Robinson, A., 1998. Witnessing Whiteness in the Wake of Wik. Social AlternativesWomen


  1. ^ Thomas, Jared (12 January 2000). "Lecturer creates academic first. SA". Koori Mail.
  2. ^ "Leading Indigenous academic takes on new role with QUT". Koori Mail. 26 April 2006.
  3. ^ a b Moreton-Robinson, Aileen; Griffith University. Faculty of Arts. Thesis (PhD), 1998 (1998), Talkin' up to the white woman : Indigenous women and feminism in Australia, retrieved 2 December 2015
  4. ^ a b Moreton-Robinson, Aileen (2000), Talkin' up to the white woman : aboriginal women and white feminism, University of Queensland Press, ISBN 978-0-7022-3134-6
  5. ^ a b c d "Moreton-Robinson, Aileen". QUT Staff Directory.
  6. ^ a b c d e "An inspiring woman – Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson". ABC Brisbane. Archived from the original on 5 June 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  7. ^ a b c Aileen, Moreton-Robinson. "QUT | Staff Profiles | Aileen Moreton-Robinson". Queensland University of Technology. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  8. ^ "International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies". Queensland University of Technology. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Keynote Speakers: Prof. Aileen Moreton-Robinson" (PDF). AIATSIS National Indigenous Studies Conference 2014. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  10. ^ a b Australian Learning and Teaching Council. "2010 Australian Awards for University Teaching" (PDF). Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  11. ^ "News". Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  12. ^ Moreton-Robinson, A (2015). The White Possessive. Minneapolis: Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-1-8597-3629-6.
  13. ^ Simon, Hemopereki (2017). "Te Arewhana Kei Roto i Te Rūma: An Indigenous Neo-Disputatio on Settler Society, Nullifying Te Tiriti, 'Natural Resources' and Our Collective Future in Aotearoa New Zealand". Te Kaharoa. 9:1.

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