Book Launch: Wild Policy


Anthropologist Tess Lea has recently launched her remarkable new book, ‘Wild Policy: Indigeneity and the Unruly Logics of Intervention’.

Drawing on her years in “the field”, which included being a lurker in the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program – until she was thrown out by a Commonwealth Minister, her many years working with Indigenous people, bureaucrats, and construction crews on Groote Eylandt, and helping to establish and work in the Karrabing Film Collective, Tess gives us a book that is totally enthralling.

Wild Policy is compulsive and absolutely necessary reading for all of us who, as Tess notes, “eat the mine[s]” that eat into unceded Indigenous land, where the violence of “the settler is reasserted everyday”. It is a call to arms on many levels: a reminder that the “familiar tools of scrutiny can blind us to what might also be there, hidden in plain sight, if we care to look askance”; to know that while “good policy” may not be possible, rerouting its effects may allow for multiple points of intervention; and that “sometimes all it takes is to start doing and expecting, differently”.


00:00   Introduction and Welcome to Country – Elspeth Probyn
03:05   Note from the Author – Tess Lea
05:15   Speaker Introductions – Elspeth Probyn
08:15   Book Response – Heidi Norman
20:25   Book Response – David Ritter
32:25   Book Response – Jakelin Troy
41:15   Book Response – Ghassan Hage
53:20   Author Responds to Respondents
1:03:20 Condensing Decades of Research into a Book
1:06:00 Blending Different Mediums and the Power of Visual
1:10:45 Ethnographic techniques and Indigenous Research Practices
1:19:35 Closing Remarks


Professor Ghassan Hage, Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne
Associate Professor Tess Lea, Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney
Professor Heidi Norman, Social and Political Sciences Program, University of Technology Sydney
Professor Elspeth Probyn (Chair), Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney
David Ritter, Greenpeace Australia Pacific
Professor Jakelin Troy, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research, University of Sydney

This event was held via Zoom on Friday 11 September, 2020 in partnership with the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies.

View Event