How did West Papuan people become invisible?

How was it really?

04-05-2021 • 25 min

In geographical terms, the island of Papua New Guinea is one of Australia's closest neighbours. Yet most Australians know little about it, and we know even less about the island's western half, named West Papua. Why is West Papua not on our radar? Why do we - and for that matter, much of the world's population - not 'see' West Papua and its people?

In this HWIR, one of Sydney's most courageous young historians, Emma Kluge, lays bare the West Papuan people's heroic struggle to be seen, to be heard, and to speak for themselves. How did they become invisible in the first place? What does it mean to be "twice colonised"? And can a scholar who is not West Papuan write a West Papuan history?

About Emma Kluge -  Dr Emma Kluge is a PhD graduate of the History Department at the University of Sydney, where she completed her doctoral thesis on West Papua's struggle for independence in the 1960s and 1970s. Learn more about the themes discussed in this episode by reading Emma's recent article: Emma Kluge, ‘West Papua and the International History of Decolonization, 1961-69’, The International History Review 42, no. 6 (1 November 2020): 1155–72, https://doi.org/10.1080/07075332.2019.1694052.