Special Issues

Call for papers for Special Issue

Donna Awatere’s Māori Sovereignty

Guest Editors: Garrick Cooper, Adele Norris

It has been 40 years since Donna Awatere published Māori Sovereignty. Considered by many as the culmination of Māori activism, Māori Sovereignty’s influence extends beyond its signal as a call for action. Criminal justice is a critical theme in Māori Sovereignty and remains a key feature that is especially marked in Māori lived experiences today. Awatere’s critique of bi-culturalism is especially acute as she presents it as a barrier to achieving Māori liberation. To this end, Awatere cautioned Māori against the language of bi-culturalism because of inherent features she observed among white culture. Most notably, she outlines a core tenet of white culture resting prominently on white people’s inability or unwillingness to see white culture as fundamentally violent in its formation. In these articulations, one could argue that Donna provided one of the first critical accounts of whiteness in the New Zealand context. Drawing on periods of Māori resistance from the time Pākehā arrived, Donna presented a novel analysis that juxtaposed whiteness with ‘Pakehaness’. Her critique of Pākehā elucidated nuances of local expressions of white identity (Pākehā) as an appendage of whiteness as a global network. It is important to note that she also called out Māori passiveness with making this connection. It is this connection wherein she warned of the danger and drawbacks of not devoting sustained attention toward a critical interrogation of white imperialism in the present. Māori Sovereignty reveals Awatere’s prescient and prophetic voice, situating her as one of the most influential social theorists of her time.  It is the aim of this special edition to highlight the importance of Māori Sovereignty. We invite contributors to engage with Māori Sovereignty by discussing specific themes and questions:    

  • Moana Jackson and Donna Awatere often spoke about the same issues but from different perspectives. What were some of the main justice issues concerning Māori the two identified and how might their scholarship and contributions speak to each other?
  • Why is Donna’s critique of the criminal justice system’s impact on Māori relevant today?
  • Why is there little sustained scholarly attention to Māori Sovereignty? What are the implications for our understanding of the contemporary lived experience of Māori, of this lack of attention?
  • Why does Māori Sovereignty continue to be influential despite the neglect?
  • How does Donna theorize whiteness or link whiteness into the global framework of whiteness, and what ways is this a shift from earlier Māori activism?
  • How did Donna view the role of activism in combating broader systems of racial oppression and injustice?
  • What were the general public’s, Māori and academic reception of Māori Sovereignty at the time of publication, and since?
  • What did/does Māori Sovereignty represent to the dominant white culture or to Māori?
  • What are the disciplinary perspectives of teaching Māori Sovereignty?
  • How does this work advance theories of race, whiteness, anti-capitalism, and social justice?
  • How did life abroad and international influences shape her critical racial consciousness?


Submission Process and Timeline

If you are planning to submit an article to this special issue, please email Adele Norris (adele.norris@waikato.ac.nz) to ensure the topic you wish to cover is still available.

Submission Portal Opens: 27 May 2022 - https://ojs.aut.ac.nz/dcj/

Please select Special Edition: Donna Awatere’s Māori Sovereignty

Submission Deadline: 20 January 2023 


Full article

5,000- 7,000 words

APA format (7th edition)