Sport and race in the NT under the microscope 


PhD research into the hardships faced by Indigenous athletes in the Northern Territory is the basis for a book to be launched this week.

Dr Matthew Stephen has written Contact Zones, a unique look at the dynamic that saw Indigenous athletes in the Northern Territory subjected to more extreme and prolonged adversity than their southern counterparts.

“Sport and sporting fields the world over are hotly contested social and political terrain and are an important barometer of changing values,” Dr Stephen said.

Dr Stephen, who graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy from Charles Darwin University in May this year, said that the obstacles of poverty, oppression, bigotry and discrimination that confronted non-White participation in sport throughout Australia were not different in the Northern Territory, but that the social, political and physical environment meant that they were more exaggerated and prolonged.

“At the heart of this history from sporting exclusion and segregation to integration and liberation for the Territory’s non-White sportsmen and women is the struggle for human rights and recognition,” he said.

Dr Stephen’s book also addresses common stereotypes that exist around Aboriginal athletes.

“To praise Aboriginal sportsmen for having a 'natural instinct that can't be taught' completely discredits the amount of hard work they put in.”

Published by Charles Darwin University Press, Contact Zones will be launched by local sporting personality Charlie King on Thursday, 25 November at 12.30pm at Angus and Robertson Book Shop, The Mall.

Contact Zones is available for purchase from the CDU Press website