“Philanthropy and Settler Colonialism” new book by Anne O’Brien

31 Mar 2015

Associate Professor Anne O’Brien has had a new book published titled Philanthropy and Settler Colonialis.

This is the first sustained long-range history of the voluntary sector in Australia and the first internationally to compare philanthropy for Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in a settler society. It explores how the race and gender ideologies embedded in philanthropy contributed to the construction of Australia's distinctively 'white male wage-earner's welfare state' and traces the intertwining trajectories of late 18th century philanthropy's three main elements - moral reform, social reform and relief. While they changed in form and spawned a new lexicon in the 20th century, the direction of their gaze remained largely unaltered.

Contradictions in voluntary organisations have surfaced in the last few years. They have been at the forefront of struggles against neo-liberalism, but adult survivors have also told chilling stories of institutional care. These contradictions reflect the tensions at the core of philanthropy which this book explores – tensions between the aspiration to justice and the pull of discipline, the desire to help and the limits of imagination.