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4. Islands. Colonialism and Geopolitics

Understanding Australia’s phosphate mining history puts into context its current controversial relationship with Nauru, Banaba, and Christmas Island (in the Indian Ocean) as refugee detention centres, so critical to the bipartisan Australian policy of stopping asylum seekers who come by sea at all costs.

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Katerina Teaiwa

Australian National University

Dr. Katerina Teaiwa is Associate Professor in the School of Culture, History & Language at the Australian National University, and the President of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies. Her main area of research looks at the histories of phosphate mining in the central Pacific. Her work not only spans academic research, publications, and lectures, but also manifests itself in other formats within the arts and popular culture. Her work inspired a permanent exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which tells the story of Pacific phosphate mining through Banaban dance. In 2015, she published "Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba“, Indiana University Press. She is currently working with visual artist Yuki Kihara on a multimedia exhibition for Carriageworks in Sydney.