CFP: The Institute of Australian Geographers Conference, Armidale, 6th-9th July 2020


Session Organisers: Dr David Kelly, RMIT University and Prof. Libby Porter, RMIT University


Housing struggle and land justice in settler-colonial landscapes


Geographies of dispossession and displacement are ubiquitously yet unevenly produced in processes of colonialism, urbanisation and housing/land speculation or re/development. Whilst urban housing struggle has been a long-standing correlate of social revolutionary potential (Engels 1872; Lefebvre 1970), how this intersects with Indigenous struggles over land rights and claims to place, is less developed. Today, differences in how people experience housing in Australia is recognised as the primary source of socio-economic inequality (Shaw 2019). Whilst the ‘housing crisis’ is a cyclical concern that permeates inter-generational discourse (Dufty-Jones 2018), for Indigenous people in settler-colonial places, the housing crisis began with colonisation (Watson 2007). Debate today about the crisis in affordability and justice is then overdetermined by white normativity, signalling the encroachment of dispossessory forces into ‘middle’ society. As such, it uncritically but implicitly points to a regime of value that routinely ignores the constancy of crisis for marginal identities in settler-colonial Australia and the way that housing has always performed the systematisation of settler futurity.


In this panel we call for papers that explore the conceptual and empirical connections between Indigenous housing struggles and land rights, and contemporary modes of housing inequality in settler-colonial places. We suggest that the modes of dispossession and eliminatory logics that Patrick Wolfe (2006) identified as underpinning settler-colonialism, are also present in varying degrees through which the state regulates Indigenous and non-Indigenous social difference. It is therefore prescient to interrogate the technologies through which this settler authority establishes itself in housing discourse and how it exercises sovereignty in the service of sameness. We welcome papers from activists and researchers that are exploring these provocations through the prism of housing and land. Areas of focus may include:



Abstracts of approximately 200 words should be submitted to the conference webpage. Abstract submission open until 20 March 2020. Notification of acceptance of abstracts 17 April 2020.



David Kelly, PhD
Research Fellow

Centre for Urban Research, School of Global Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University




124 Latrobe Street, Melbourne  VIC 3000, Australia