Gulson, K. N., & Parkes, R. J. (2009). In the shadows of the mission: Educational policy, space, and the ‘colonial present’. Race, Ethnicity and Education, 12(3), 267-280.
This paper is concerned with enduring histories and micro-geographies of the (post)colonial Australian nation, played out through contemporary connections between Aboriginality, inner Sydney and educational policy change. This paper traces the ‘racialization’ of space and place in the Sydney inner city suburb of Redfern, including the Aboriginal-‘owned’ residential area commonly known as the Block; it then outlines aspects of an educational policy change in inner Sydney, specifically the relationship of policy proposals to the positioning of Aboriginal people; and, last, focuses on connecting the notions of Aboriginality and space to educational policy change through Derek Gregory’s idea of the ‘colonial present’. It explores how the idea of the ‘colonial present’ as ‘performance of space’ might help to understand the racialisation of the inner city and education policy discourses. It concludes that the ‘colonial present’ is a way of understanding how the ‘racialisation’ of the inner city and education policy discourses can, on the one hand, ‘reaffirm’ deficit views of Aboriginal people as irredeemably ‘Other’ and as ‘failure’, yet, on the other hand, can however precariously mobilize ‘impure resources’ to undo colonial enclosures.