ACRAWSA Conference 2020

Racial literacies vs white supremacy – educating and researching together against racial silencing, racial violence and racial capitalism


Date: February 6 2020                                

Time: 9.00am – 6.00 pm

Venue:  Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 280 Pitt St, Sydney, New South Wales 2000. Fully accessible. Near Town Hall Station. 

Guest International Speaker: Patricia Hill Collins, Distinguished University Professor Emerita (University of Maryland)

View the Call for Papers on Issuu

The Australian Critical Race and Whiteness Studies Association (ACRAWSA) is the only Australian association which brings together a community of scholars and activists who employ critical race theory dedicated to furthering the aim of Aboriginal sovereignty.

ACRAWSA was founded after the Critical Contexts and Crucial Conversations: Whiteness and Race symposium in 2002 convened by Distinguished Professor Aileen Moreton-Robinson. 

Since 2017, ACRAWSA has taken a new turn, re-establishing our peer-reviewed journal, and instigating a blog with articles, reviews and comments on a range of topics by scholars, both more senior and those starting out on their academic venture. 

At the start of a new decade, the association is again evaluating the role it can play in an era of mounting white supremacism, racial violence, and racial capitalist crisis and associated rapid environmental degradation. How should critical race scholars intervene? What is our role, not only in these large-scale struggles, but also within our institutions and organisations, to ensure that the core aim of giving voice to scholarship that centres Aboriginal knowledges and sovereign demands is met?

With these thoughts in mind, we invite you to our 2020 annual conference, our first since 2014. This conference looks back to reimagine our journey forward; and asks what ACRAWSA do you want?

We intend to organize an open and inclusive conference space with room for horizontal discussion, avoiding hierarchical academic conventions such as keynote and plenary speakers. While ‘traditional papers’ will be given, everyone’s contribution will be treated as equally valid. Priority will be given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander speakers.

The conference will be organised around three broad themes (parallel sessions will be organised around sub-themes):


What are the key areas in which race and racial-colonial logics have been silenced in public and scholarly discourse? How has critical race scholarship in Australia been trying to increase racial literacy, and what still needs to be done?

    Papers in this area may address issues such as:

  • The difficulties of addressing race in teaching and /or research
  • Postracialism: fiction or aspiration?
  • Racial euphemisms
  • Reconciliation vs. sovereignty
  • Disabling rhetorics
  • The limitations of diversity, representation, integration, inclusion.  
  • Gaps between academic and community needs and aspirations

RACIAL LITERACIES (multiple parallel sessions)

There are initiatives in research, teaching, writing, activism, performance, media and art that support and build racial literacies. Papers addressing the theme of racial literacies could be motivated by questions such as, how do we make the working of race apparent in these various spaces? What are the risks and dangers of doing so? How do we create communities of solidarity to assist us in doing so that go beyond the academy?


Facilitated by the ACRAWSA committee, this session will seek feedback and input into a collective vision for the future of the association that includes decolonial models and new leaders.  We will be discussing research conducted into teaching and research on race in Australia and issues such as the location of non-Indigenous CRT scholars outside and within Critical Race and Whiteness, and Critical Indigenous studies. What should solidarity and coalition-building look like for our times? 


Postgraduate students will be able to enter our poster competition on the theme of ‘racial literacies’. The posters will be on display throughout the conference and will be adjudicated by a panel of experts. The winning posters will be awarded at the end of the day.


Applicants (scholars/activists/artists) are invited to submit an abstract for presentations (max 200 words) along with a short bio (max 200 words) by December 7th 2019. 

Send abstracts and any enquires to:

REGISTRATION FEES* (information on how to pay electronically will be provided later)

ACRAWSA member waged: $50

Non-ACRAWSA member waged: $115 ($80 annual membership fee + reduced conference rate)

ACRAWSA member unwaged/student/activist/community member: $25

Non-ACRAWSA member unwaged: $40 ($25 annual membership fee + reduced conference rate)

* If you are unable to pay any of these rates, please write us an email in confidence.

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