Deborah Bird Rose

Deborah Bird Rose (1946–2018) was an Australian-based anthropologist who worked with Indigenous Australians and an internationally renowned scholar in environmental humanities, focusing on multi-species ethnography and extinction studies. Her research analysed the entwined issues of social and ecological justice, based on long-term relationships, especially with Indigenous people in the Victoria River region and more broadly in the Northern Territory. She worked with Indigenous Australians on many land claims. This book completes her envisaged trilogy with two earlier books Hidden Histories (1991) and Dingo Makes Us Human (1992) both widely acclaimed, respectively winning the Jessie Litchfield and Stanner prizes.

Dreaming Ecology »

Nomadics and Indigenous Ecological Knowledge, Victoria River, Northern Australia

Edited by: Darrell Lewis, Margaret Jolly
Authored by: Deborah Bird Rose
Publication date: 2024
In the author’s own words, Dreaming Ecology ‘explores a holistic understanding of the interconnections of people, country, kinship, creation and the living world within a context of mobility. Implicitly it asks how people lived so sustainably for so long’. It offers a telling critique of the loss of Indigenous life, human and non-human, in the wake of white settler colonialism and this becoming ‘cattle country’. It offers a fresh perspective on nomadics grounded in ‘footwalk epistemology’ and ‘an ethics of return sustained across different species, events, practices and scales’ ‘This is the final and most substantial of Debbie’s love letters to the Aboriginal people of the Victoria River Downs. I say this because there is a such a sense of reverence, wonder and respect throughout the book. The introduction of concepts of double-death, footwalk epistemology, wild country, … are not only organising ideas but characterisations arising from what Debbie hears, sees and feels of herself and Aboriginal others … I think of it in terms of love, if love is care, reciprocal respect, deep connectivity and a strong desire to never make less of the people she chose to commit herself to.’ —Richard Davis ‘This book was a pleasure to read, filled with careful description of people, places, and various plants and animals, and insightful analysis of the patterns and commitments that hold them together in the world.’ —Thom van Dooren

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Australian Humanities Review: Issue 50, 2011 »

Unloved Others: Death of the Disregarded in the Time of Extinctions

Publication date: May 2011
Australian Humanities Review is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal featuring articles, essays and reviews focusing on a wide array of topics related to literature, culture, history and politics.

Dislocating the Frontier »

Essaying the Mystique of the Outback

Edited by: Deborah Bird Rose, Richard Davis
Publication date: March 2006
The frontier is one of the most pervasive concepts underlying the production of national identity in Australia. Recently it has become a highly contested domain in which visions of nationhood are argued out through analysis of frontier conflict. Dislocating the Frontier departs from this contestation and takes a critical approach to the frontier imagination in Australia. The authors of this book work with frontier theory in comparative and unsettling modes. The essays reveal diverse aspects of frontier images and dreams – as manifested in performance, decolonising domains, language, and cross-cultural encounters. Dislocating the Frontier takes readers beyond the notion of a progressive or disastrous frontier to a more radical rethinking of the frontier imagination itself.