Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, published in 2014 created a storm, provoking an immediate outraged response from right wing racist culture warriors. A group of “Quiet Australians” even established a website “Dark Emu Exposed”. None of this prevented the book gaining a mass audience and winning prestigious prizes. The debates have recently been refuelled by the publication of Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? by Peter Sutton and Keryn Walsh. This hostile book has cast doubt in the minds of some former admirers of Dark Emu amidst calls to have it removed from the school curriculum.
The debates can be difficult to follow for anyone not trained in anthropology or archaeology. Sandra Bloodworth will argue that non-specialists can judge these two books and much of the debates swirling around Dark Emu by examining the politics underlying them.