Marcia Langton's Study of the Aborigines of Australia

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Dr. Marcia Langton, an anthropologist from Australia of Australian Aborigines descent, spoke at the Berndt’s lecture in 2011. Her article, Anthropology, Politics and the Changing World of Aboriginal Australians, focuses primarily on the works of an anthropologist couple Robert and Catherine Berndt. They had completed many ethnographic studies in various areas around Australia. Langton states that their work has been crucial in order to have a complete understanding of the Australian Aborigines’ society. The indigenous Australian’s society has been thoroughly researched by many social sciences through the decades. Artworks, religion, rituals, economy, politics, and even claims of UFO sightings have been recorded by a multitude of scholars.…show more content…
I am not sure why this has become such an issue for Australian anthropologists and other anthropologists studying them. E. E Evans-Pritchard, anthropologist, ethnographer and author of Witchcraft, Oracles, and Magic Among the Azande, was not of the Azande culture, yet his work has been monumental for modern ethnographers. Langton herself attempts to immediately put this myth to rest in the first paragraph of her lecture, “There is a simplistic view that because I am Aboriginal, being a descendant of the Yiman people in Central Queensland, I would have a better understanding of Aboriginal societies than, say, the Berndts did. This is not the case, as I shall explain” (Langton 2011: 1-2). Langton goes on to express her perspective about why it is incorrect to believe that just because someone is of a specific culture, they are not experts in their society. For example, I am of Cherokee descent but I am certainly no expert on the Cherokee Nation. In another article by Langton’s predecessor, R.M. Berndt, entitled Die Religionen der Sudsee und Australiens by H. Nevermann; E. A. Worms; H. Petri, for which Berndt reviewed, he pointed out a lot of misconstrued information. Berndt states the Professor Petri, one of the authors, does not credit the Australian Aborigines enough. For example, E.A Worms, another author of the article,

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