Presented by Associate Professor Morgan Brigg and Dr Mary Graham (UQ). 

Dominant Western political thought is significantly beholden to the individual, sovereignty and territory as foundational concepts. This conceptual architecture is unfit for current needs because it is proving largely unable to facilitate a useful response to the maddening populist denial of climate change. However, long before European political ideas came to the Australian continent, the elders of this place engaged in a long-term process of evolutionary political design that came to use landscape as a template for socio-political ordering. By becoming human in Country, Aboriginal people established the relational embedding of people with a sentient landscape, each other, and other-than-human beings. This system guards against anthropocentric hubris and delivers key basic political goods, including long-term security. One way to access and explore the insights and possibilities of this ancient system, and to secure a politics that delivers on key human needs, is to substitute Aboriginal concepts for individual, sovereignty and territory: autonomy for individualism, relationality for sovereignty, and Country for territory.

About Futures of International Order | Seminar Series

There is a widespread fear that the modern, ‘liberal’, international order is in crisis. Faced with multiple global challenges, from climate change and economic governance to nuclear arms control and global people movements, existing institutions increasingly appear outmoded, inefficient, and at times, dysfunctional. Meanwhile, existing institutional arrangements are being challenged by a diverse array of actors, from great powers (such as Russia) and transnational insurgents to right-wing nationalists. This university-wide seminar series is designed to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue on the possible futures of the modern international order. What challenges does it face, how will it evolve in the face of such challenges, what futures are desirable if it is to meet human and planetary needs?

Scholars are wrestling with these issues in a wide range of disciplines, from climate science and economics to history, philosophy, law, and political science. We invited scholars from all fields currently working on issues relating to ‘futures of international order’ to present in this seminar series. 

This program was convened in 2019 by Associate Professor Jacinta O’Hagan, Associate Professor Sarah Percy & Professor Chris Reus-Smit.


Level 5 General Purpose North (39A) The University of Queensland St Lucia, QLD 4072