Masculinism, Heteropaternalism, and Australian Settler Backlash Culture

Wednesday 5 December, 2pm – 3:15 pm.

Park 2.01, All welcome!

The Sociology and Social Theory Research Group, and the Women and Gender Studies Research Group present:

Dr Lucy Nicholas, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, Swinburne University, Australia.

Masculinism, Heteropaternalism, and Australian Settler Backlash Culture

Recent years have seen a resurgence in Australia of backlashes to queer and Indigenous diversity-affirmative practices.  These backlashes partially parallel the global rise of right populism and the at-right, but in some ways are unique. The unique history of the settler colonial nation of Australia entails the ongoing (re)construction of a neutralised Australian subject, to the omission of its others. Backlashes ensue when there is a perceived loss of normalcy or dominance by the majority culture.

The case studies outlined here demonstrate how whiteness, nationhood and (gendered) heterosexuality are playing out in parallel ways through populist backlashes that aim to contain queerness and indigeneity in respectable modes that do not challenge the default neutrality of a constructed “Australian” subject.  The paper will analyse the rhetorics of this disappearing, and how this informs political strategies to erase and control queer and Indigenous others so as to reify the norm.

Lucy Nicholas researches gender and sexual diversities with specific interests in social and political theory, queer theory and feminisms. Her first book, Queer Post-Gender Ethics (Palgrave 2014) received a special commendation for the Raewyn Connell Prize for the best first book in Australian Sociology.  Her second book, co-authored with Chris Agius, is The Persistence of Global Masculinism (2017).

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