On the 9th of March our Chair Indigenous Research, Prof. Larissa Behrendt was appointed a Distinguished Professor of the University. Prof. Larissa is the first Indigenous academic to be appointed as a Distinguished Professor at UTS.
Larissa is the Professor of Indigenous Research and the Director of Research and Academic Programs at the Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research at the University of Technology Sydney. She has a LLB and B.Juris from UNSW and a LLM and SJD from Harvard Law School. Larissa has a legal background with a strong track record in the areas of Indigenous law, policy, creative arts, education and research. She has held numerous judicial positions and sat on various community and arts organisation boards. Larissa is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia and a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law. She chaired the national review of Indigenous Higher Education, was the inaugural chair of National Indigenous Television and was the Chair of the Bangarra Dance Theatre. Larissa is an award-winning author and filmmaker. She was the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year and 2011 NSW Australian of the Year. Larissa is also the host of Speaking Out on ABC Radio.
Quote from Larissa “It is such an honour to have this recognition from the University. Jumbunna has always been a team effort and I am so grateful for the support of my colleagues. “
On another note we also want to congratulate Larissa for being shortlisted in the Indigenous Writers’ Prize for the 2018 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards for Finding Eliza.
Finding Eliza is Larissa’s book about Eliza Fraser, who was purportedly captured by the Butchulla people after she was shipwrecked on their island off the Queensland coast in 1836. In this deeply personal book, Behrendt uses Eliza’s tale as a starting point to interrogate how Aboriginal people – and indigenous people of other countries – have been portrayed in their colonisers’ stories.
Exploring works as diverse as Robinson Crusoe and Coonardoo, Behrendt looks at the stereotypes embedded in these accounts, including the assumption of cannibalism and the myth of the noble savage. Ultimately, Finding Eliza shows how these stories not only reflect the values of their storytellers but also reinforce those values – and how, in Australia, this has contributed to a complex racial divide.
The winners will be announced on the 30th of April.