Dealing with the wicked problem of race – using theory as praxis
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Presenters: Associate Professor Jennifer Nielsen and Ms Marcelle Burns
Abstract: In this presentation, we – draw on our paper ‘Dealing with the ‘Wicked’ Problem of Race and the Law: A Critical Journey for Students (and Academics)’ (2019) – to share our reflections on our success in using theory as a practice to challenge the wicked problem of racism in the law classroom. In particular, we will reflect on the value of team teaching in this complex and dynamic teaching space and the significance to legal institutions and the profession of engaging law students in critical learning on race and whiteness.
Marcelle Burns is a Gomeroi-Kamilaroi woman and lecturer at the Law School, University of New England. Marcelle has worked in the field of First Peoples and law as both an academic and lawyer for over 20 years. Her legal professional experience includes working as a solicitor with the Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT Limited, the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, and in private practice. Marcelle’s main research interests are the recognition of First Peoples in international and domestic law; and Indigenous knowledges and cultural competency in legal education. From 2015-2018 she was the Project Leader for the Indigenous Cultural Competency for Legal Academics Program, funded by the Australian Government Department of Education of Training.
Jennifer Nielsen is an Associate Professor in the School of Law and Justice at Southern Cross University. She is an active researcher in the field of race and the law, applying Critical Race and Whiteness theory to mainstream Australian law in order to expose its normative standards and tendency to privilege ‘white’ interests. From 2013 - 2019, she was part of a four-person team that delivered staff training on race and racism – Courageous Conversations About Race – to the SCU community.