Marcia Langton Biography
Marcia Lynne Langton AM (born 31 October 1951, Brisbane, Australia) holds the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Medicine Foundation Chair in Australian Indigenous Studies. She became Professor Distinguished in 2016 and Associate Provost in 2017.
Marcia Langton Life and Career
Born in 1951 to Kathleen (born Waddy), Marcia Langton grew up as a descendant of the Yiman and Bidjara nations in south-central Queensland and Brisbane. Her father did not have any presence in her life. Her mother, when Marcia was a year old, married Scots-born ex-Korean War veteran Douglas Langton. She enrolled at Queensland University and became an indigenous rights activist.
Disillusioned with the conservative mainstream political reaction to these issues, she left Australia for several countries including Papua New Guinea, Japan, and North America to travel, live, and work. She returned to Australia in the 1980s and graduated from Australian National University in anthropology, becoming the first indigenous anthropology honors graduate. She then worked on indigenous social and cultural issues and land claims with several organizations.
These included the Australian Film Commission, the Central Land Council (where she was an anthropologist of land claims), the Queensland government, and the Cape York Land Council in the early 1990s. For example, she worked for the 1989 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody as a member of the Northern Territory Aboriginal Issues Unit. Her report,’ Too Much Sorry Business,’ raised serious concerns about alcohol consumption and the lack of government action to control it;’ from an Aboriginal perspective and from an Aboriginal experience, alcohol plays a primary role in both the reasons for detention and the possibility of death.’
[This quote needs a quote] The conclusion was that the supply of alcohol needed limits. Nearly 20 years later, among other issues, she supported the National Emergency Response of the Northern Territory, which polices alcohol sales and consumption. She moved to university research and teaching full-time in 1995. She spent five years at the Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin University) in Darwin as Ranger Professor of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies before moving to Melbourne. Since its launch in 2016, Langton has been on the judging panel for the annual Horne Prize.
Langton learned and became a Buddhist while in Japan, saying “I’m a lazy Buddhist” A Buddhist pose painted by Wiradjuri artist Brook Andrew. She became the patron of the Indigenous Reading Project in 2012, a non-profit charity using digital technology to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s reading skills.
Marcia Langton Academic Interests
In several academic fields, Langton is known for her work, linked by a concern for indigenous rights, justice, and artistic expression. Langton carries out anthropological work to support Aboriginal peoples ‘ land claims and their negotiations with mining companies and the state. Her 2005 PhD at Macquarie University applies phenomenological theory to the study of the Eastern Cape York Peninsula’s Aboriginal peoples.
Marcia Langton Activism
Her international work concerns Canada’s First Nation rights, conservation and environmental policies, and long-term support for East Timor’s people. She argued that settlement with Aboriginal land mining companies often benefits more local interests than the Australian government and that the proposed 2010 resource tax on mining in Australia needed a redesign to support indigenous rights and employment.
More recently, in 2017, she campaigned against “environmentalists” to thwart the reform of indigenous titles as part of her case against Adan Other indigenous lawyers rejected her criticism of indigenous litigants. She is a frequent commentator on the media and serves on indigenous issues on various high-level committees. These included the Center for Aboriginal Reconciliation, the Center for Indigenous Natural and Cultural Resource Management, the Chair of the Advisory Council on Indigenous Higher Education, and the Chair of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership.
In May 2008, she was appointed by the federal government to a committee to reform the process of native Australian title. In 1999, she was one of five indigenous leaders granted an audience with the Queen to discuss the proposed Australian constitution recognition of indigenous Australians.
Marcia Langton Awards
- Order of Australia, (AM) 1993.
- Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Teacher of the Year, 2002 (jointly with Larissa Behrendt)
- Fellow, Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, elected 2001
- Inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women in 2001.
- Australia’s top 100 Intellectuals.
- Australia’s top 40 public intellectuals.
- Fellow of Trinity College (University of Melbourne), elected 2012.
- Fellow of Emmanuel College at The University of Queensland, 2016.
Marcia Langton Some Important Works
- Langton M. J. 2018. Welcome to Country: A Travel Guide to Indigenous Australia. Hardie Grant Travel.
- Davis, M. and Langton M. J. (eds.). 2016. It’s Our Country: Indigenous Arguments for Meaningful Constitutional Recognition and Reform. Melbourne University Press.
- Langton M. J. 2013. The Quiet Revolution: Indigenous People and the Resources Boom. ABC Books.
- Langton M. J. and J. Longbottom (eds.) 2012. Community futures, legal architecture: foundations for Indigenous peoples in the global mining boom. London: Routledge.
- Perkins, R and Langton M (eds). 2008. First Australians. An Illustrated History. Melbourne University Publishing, Melbourne.
- Langton, M., Palmer, L., Mazel, O., K. Shain & M.Tehan (eds). 2006. Settling with Indigenous Peoples: Modern Treaty and Agreement Making. Annandale, NSW: Federation Press.
- Langton, M. & M. Nakata (eds). 2005. Australian Indigenous Knowledge and Libraries. Canberra: Australian Academic and Research Libraries.
- Langton, M., 2005. An Aboriginal ontology of being and place: the performance of Aboriginal property relations in the Princess Charlotte Bay area of eastern Cape York Peninsula, Australia. Unpub. PhD thesis, Human Geography/Anthropology. Sydney: Macquarie University.
- Langton, M., M. Tehan, L. R. Palmer & K. Shain (eds). 2004. Honour among nations? Treaties and agreements with Indigenous peoples. Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing. (Choice List of Outstanding Academic Titles 2006, American Libraries Association, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries)
- Langton, M. (1998). Burning Questions: Emerging environmental issues for Indigenous peoples in northern Australia. Darwin, Northern Territory: Centre for Indigenous Natural and Cultural Resource Management, Northern Territory University. ISBN 9781876483067. Archived from the original on 7 February 2007.
- Langton M. & W. Jonas., 1994. The Little Red, Yellow and Black (and Green and Blue and White) Book: a short guide to Indigenous Australia. Canberra: AIATSIS.
- Langton, M., 1994. Valuing cultures: recognising indigenous cultures as a valued part of Australian heritage. Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. Canberra : Australian Govt. Pub. Service.
- Langton, M., 1993. Well, I heard it on the radio and I saw it on the television: an essay for the Australian Film Commission on the politics and aesthetics of filmmaking by and about Aboriginal people and things. Sydney: Australian Film Commission.
- Langton, M. & N. Peterson, (eds). 1983. Aborigines, Land & Land Rights. Valuing Cultures: recognising Indigenous cultures as a valued part of Australian heritage. Canberra: AGPS.
- Langton, M., 1983. After the tent embassy: images of Aboriginal history in black and white photographs Sydney: Valadon Publishing.
- Langton, M., 2010. The Resource Curse. Griffith Review, no. 29.
- Langton, M., and O. Mazel. 2008. Poverty in the midst of plenty: Aboriginal people, the ‘resource curse’ and Australia’s mining boom. Journal of Energy and Natural Resources Law. 26(1): 31–65.
- Langton, M., 2008. chapter in Manne, R. (ed.) “Dear Mr Rudd: Ideas for a Better Australia”. Black Inc.
- Langton, M., 2007. Trapped in the Aboriginal reality show. Griffith Review Edition 19 – Re-imagining Australia. Sydney: Griffith University.
- Langton, M., 2003. chapter “Grounded and Gendered: Aboriginal Women in Australian Cinema” in French, L. (ed.) Womenvision: Women and the Moving Image in Australia. Damned Publishing, Melbourne. pp. 43–56.
- Langton, M. (2000). “‘The Fire that is the Centre of Each Family’ Landscapes of the Ancients” (PDF). In Ann P. Hamblin. Visions of Future Landscapes. Proceedings of the 1999 Australian Academy of Science Fenner Conference on the Environment, 2–5 May 1999, Canberra. Canberra, ACT: Bureau of Rural Sciences. pp. 169–178. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 April 2012.
- Jardiwarnpa: a Warlpiri fire (with Ned Lander and Rachel Perkins)
- Night Cries: a rural tragedy (with Tracey Moffatt & Penny McDonald)
- Blood Brothers, a 1993 four-part Australian documentary series
- Perkin’s First Australians series for SBS television, 2008, features many commentaries by Langton