The project aims to deconstruct the conventionally accepted European gaze by focusing on works within various Indigenous Cultures. The project, Disentangling the European Gaze, expands upon the ground-breaking work by Cree scholar Gerald McMaster (Ontario College of Art and Design University, Toronto, Canada) and his research symposium “The Entangled Gaze”. McMaster’s symposium on that subject examined the ways North American Indigenous peoples and Europeans have represented each other in historical and contemporary art to explore postcolonial histories through Indigenous voices. With one of the researchers in this collaboration having participated in that symposium, the project aims to build on the pertinent issues that were brought up as part of McMaster’s symposium.

The collaborative aspect of the project will enable a dialogical approach to the interplay of (post)colonial European and Indigenous representations, reflecting the ambiguous and hybrid relationship of such representation. Indeed, while some researchers in the team have previously focused on European representations of indigenous peoples, others have been more focused on the ways in which Indigenous peoples have “gazed back”, resisted, and subverted (post)colonial attempts to determine them from the outside as objects of scrutiny. These diverse but complementary perspectives will incorporate German representations of indigenous Americans, French representations of Māori and Mā’ohi, the revitalization of Indigenous languages, and Euro-American/Indigenous relationships, and other to be determined research interests.


This collaboration will directly support and facilitate our research in two main ways:

a) The project aims to bring international scholars in the field of Indigenous Studies to the University of Auckland to participate in workshops that focus on the problematics of European representations of indigenous peoples and indigenous self-representation. In late June 2019,the largest scholarly organisation devoted to critical Indigenous Studies – the North American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), will be having its annual conference in Hamilton, New Zealand. Following this, the project will be hosting a workshop that will expose both staff and students to unique ideas and approaches to issues pertaining to current scholarly interest within the field of Indigenous Studies.
The staff workshop will be focused on “hot topics” in the field.

b) The project aims to promote production and publication of research outputs in Indigenous Studies. While focusing on the question of language and the challenges posed, the proceedings of the workshop scheduled for July 1, 2019 will be published in two edited volumes.

Vision Mātauranga

By engaging with different world views and values, both historical and contemporary, the researchers in this project will engage with a broader understanding of mātauranga (Maori knowledge) to deconstruct dominant European discourses on indigenous peoples, specifically by adding indigenous voices and methodologies to the research areas.

The project emphasizes on the importance of language preservation and Culture as resistance, with respect to indigenous languages and cultures.

“Disentangling the European Gaze” is thus a project that advocates for a shift away from the conventional focus on European languages and literatures.

For More Information on the Workshop for 2019, please see the page Workshop 2019