Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

How White are We Now? Cultural Transformation, Transnational Dynamics and White Belonging(s) in Australia

Dr Sara Wills.

Based on problematic encounters with the use of 'whiteness' as an analytical category and tool for research, this paper draws on interviews conducted among post-Second World War British migrants to Australia and explores the dynamics of culture, identity and place-making in a local/situated context. Arguing that 'whiteness' may no longer provide the most accurate, or even politically and strategically most helpful, indicator of privilege and access to national space or power for many in Australia, I outline new dynamics of belonging and cultural identity formation among those who were perceived to be the 'most pampered and protected of the [postwar] intake'. By asking 'how white are we now?', this paper aims to stimulate new forms of thinking about the local realities of racial identification and spatial belonging.


Dr Sara Wills  (Australia)

Australian Centre
University of Melbourne

Sara Wills is an ARC Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Australian Centre, University of Melbourne, and also a Research Associate with Museum Victoria. Her postdoctoral research focuses on issues of place, identity, community and belonging among postwar British migrants to Australia, but she teaches more broadly on migrant culture and identity. She has also researched, published and taught in the area of refugee and asylum seeker issues in Australia, red-green political thought and nineteenth-century British cultural history. Sara is part of an unusually well-blended family in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick.

  • Culture
  • Identity

(Virtual Presentation, English)