This PhD Seminar will report on findings from the PhD Indigenising Masculinities. The project seeks to understand the identities of Indigenous men, formations of masculinities and how these relate to historical and contemporary forces that have shaped Indigenous experiences in Australia.
The seminar will reflect on the key literature fields that this study is grounded in, as well as explain the research methodologies utilised to explore this topic. It will explain how the various research methods utilised in human geography have been brought together to identify key themes and topics of importance through the deep Indigenous analogy of fishing.
The seminar will then explain the structure of the thesis which presented a coming together of the intellectual framework with the contributions from informants. Through qualitative interviews the structure of speaking about men in terms of life stages emerged as an appropriate manner through which to structure discussions and analyse findings. As such the thesis is structured in the following way:
- Becoming – A baby growing and being nourished from his mother.
- Growing – A young boy learns through observation, listening, and being taught.
- Being – A man navigates through the world experimenting, practicing, and performing a suite of chosen masculinities.
- Returning – An old man reflecting on his life and lessons learnt before returning to his mother Country.
This structure takes on added meaning as it is also used as a method to understand time and space. Becoming then reflects on the Dreaming, the vast period since time began and the advent of colonisation. Growing explores the epoch of colonisation, and how this changed Indigenous worlds and Indigenous male encounters within this. Being investigates the contemporary, asking who Indigenous men are now, what that means, and to whom. Returning is an introspection on the new knowledges gained from this exercise and organises the findings into a field of domains that continue to define the Indigenous male experience.
The seminar will finish by putting forward The Art of Masculinities, a conceptual framework to understand the various efforts Indigenous men are engaged in to reclaim, recentre, and reoccupy masculine identities grounded in our own worldviews. At heart, it seeks to tell the story of Indigenous men in Australia, building agency and a coherent narrative so that we may better understand ourselves as individuals and a social group. In doing so, it creates a sense of understanding and may yet provide a platform to foster positive Indigenous male roles and provide a sense of healing.