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Skin Deep: Settler Impressions of Aboriginal Women by Liz Conor


Skin Deep looks at the preoccupations of European-Australians in their encounters with Aboriginal women and the tropes, types and perceptions that seeped into everyday settler-colonial thinking. Early erroneous and uninformed accounts of Aboriginal women and culture were repeated throughout various print forms and imagery, both in Australia and in Europe, with names, dates and locations erased so that individual women came to be anonymised as ‘gins’ and ‘lubras’.

Liz Conor identifies and traces the various tropes used to typecast Aboriginal women, contributing to their lasting hold on the colonial imagination even after conflicting records emerged.

For nearly all settlers, typecasting Aboriginal women through name-calling and repetition of tropes sufficed to evoke an understanding that was surface-based and half knowing: only skin deep.

About the Author
Dr Liz Conor joined the National Centre for Australian Studies in September 2011 as a Lecturer following an Australian Research Council postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Culture and Communications at the University of Melbourne.

She is former editor of Metro Magazine and Australian Screen Education and has published essays and freelance articles in the The Age, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, Arena, Overland, Metro, Sydney Child, The Drum, and in a range of academic journals. Liz completed her doctorate in Australian cultural history at La Trobe University and writes regularly on gender, history and politics in the press and scholarly publications.

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