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Innovation: Knowledge and Ingenuity

Thames & Hudson

Innovation: Knowledge and Ingenuity


The First Knowledges series offers an introduction to Indigenous knowledges in vital areas and their application to the present day and the future. Exploring practices such as songlines, architecture, design, land management, botany, astronomy and law, this series brings together two very different ways of understanding the natural world: one ancient, the other modern. The seventh book focuses on innovation.

‘Deeply insightful, sensitive and passionate. An inspiring, meticulous picture of the innovations that have made us the world’s oldest living culture.’ – Larissa Behrendt

‘Another fascinating volume in this landmark Australian publishing series.’ – Richard Flanagan

What do you need to know to prosper as a people for at least 65,000 years? The First Knowledges series provides a deeper understanding of the expertise and ingenuity of Indigenous Australians.

First Nations Australians are some of the oldest innovators in the world. Original developments in social and religious activities, trading strategies, technology and land-management are underpinned by philosophies that strengthen sustainability of Country and continue to be utilised today.

Innovation: Knowledge and Ingenuity reveals novel and creative practices such as: body shaping; cremation; sea hunting with the help of suckerfish; building artificial reefs for oyster farms; repurposing glass from Europeans into spearheads; economic responses to colonisation; and a Voice to Parliament.

In the first book to detail Indigenous innovations in Australia, Ian J McNiven and Lynette Russell showcase this legacy of First Nations peoples and how they offer resourceful ways of dealing with contemporary challenges that can benefit us all.

Ian J McNiven is Professor of Indigenous Archaeology in Monash Indigenous Studies Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, and a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage. Ian is an elected Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Professor Lynette Russell AM is one of Australia's leading historians and an award-winning internationally recognised expert on Indigenous histories. She has published over a dozen books on topics as diverse as museums and museum displays, Aboriginal faunal knowledge, colonial history, and the early Australian whaling industry. She is deputy director of the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence in Biodiversity and Heritage, and Kathleen Fitzpatrick Laureate Professor.

Ian J McNiven, Lynette Russell
Published November 2023
256 pages
133mm x 196cm
ISBN 9781760763039

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