Skin Deep explores how print culture has impacted upon experiences and perceptions of race and gender in Australia
Skin Deep looks at the preoccupations of European-Australians in their encounters with Aboriginal women and the tropes, types and perceptions that seeped into everyday settler-colonial thinking.
Early erroneous and uninformed accounts of Aboriginal women and culture were repeated throughout various print forms and imagery, both in Australia and in Europe, with names, dates and locations erased so that individual women came to be anonymised as 'gins' and 'lubras'. Liz Conor identifies and traces the various tropes used to typecast Aboriginal women, contributing to their lasting hold on the colonial imagination even after conflicting records emerged.
For nearly all settlers, typecasting Aboriginal women through name-calling and repetition of tropes sufficed to evoke an understanding that was surface-based and half knowing: only skin deep.
Liz Conor is one of the new generation of dynamic Australian cultural historians.