Languages and Yolŋu Ground Up Research: The metaphysics of translation and interpreting

This is a presentation by Professor Michael Christie (Northern Institute) as part of the TopEndSTS Symposium held 15 November (CDU Casuarina Campus)

Indigenous research theorists often call for the ‘privileging of Indigenous voices’ in research. In this paper I look at one aspect of what this privileging has meant in our collaborative research with Yolŋu Aboriginal knowledge authorities. Starting with a few stories to do with translating and interpreting, and then looking at examples from education, health communication, housing, and the current issue of English in the Northern Territory parliament, I make clear how working effectively with Aboriginal knowledge authorities and their languages entails taking seriously the metaphysical commitments which go along with Aboriginal understandings of languages and how they work.

Note: The audience Q&A has limited audio quality