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Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers: The Dark Emu Debate

$35.00 inc. GST

An authoritative study of pre-colonial Australia that dismantles and reframes popular narratives of First Nations land management and food production

Australians’ understanding of Aboriginal society prior to the British invasion from 1788 has been transformed since the publication of Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu in 2014. It argued that classical Aboriginal society was more sophisticated than Australians had been led to believe because it resembled more closely the farming communities of Europe. In Farmers or Hunter-gatherers? Peter Sutton and Keryn Walshe ask why Australians have been so receptive to the notion that farming represents an advance from hunting and gathering. Drawing on the knowledge of Aboriginal elders, previously not included within this discussion, and decades of anthropological scholarship, Sutton and Walshe provide extensive evidence to support their argument that classical Aboriginal society was a hunter-gatherer society and as sophisticated as the traditional European farming methods. Farmers or Hunter-gatherers? asks Australians to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal society and culture.

Description

Peter Sutton FASSA is an Australian social anthropologist and linguist who has, over more than 50 years, contributed to recording Australian Aboriginal languages, promoted Australian Aboriginal art, mapped Australian Aboriginal cultural landscapes, and increased society’s general understanding of contemporary Australian Aboriginal social structures and systems of land tenure.

Dr Keryn Walshe is an archaeologist with more than 35 years of experience in recording, analysing and interpreting Australian Indigenous heritage sites and objects. She has lectured in archaeology, managed Indigenous heritage museum collections and undertaken site assessments for corporate and government agencies. Walshe continues to write for academic journals, advise heritage managers and give public presentations.

Published by Melbourne University Publishing, 2021. Paperback, 264 pages.