Toula Nicolacopoulos and George Vassilacopoulos in conversation.
Without exception, everyone is called upon today to construct his/her patriotic identity as a response to the supreme imperative of our shared whiteness: ‘act as if the land were initially without owners’. For white Australia, this imperative is more primordial than the usual formulation of the call to patriotism: ‘be prepared to sacrifice yourself for your country’, since patriotic sacrifice presupposes that one already has a country to which one is devoted. The imperative of whiteness touches the depth of our ontology since it is from this that the white collective springs as the creator of the white Australian nation-state. White Australians perpetually enter the world in so far as we faithfully obey the imperative to act as if the land were initially without owners and it is through this imperative that we cover over the question, ‘where do you come from?’, posed to us by the defiant resistance of Indigenous sovereign being. White Australia is therefore unavoidably implicated in the perpetuation of the nation that must act ‘as if …’ or what we call the ‘hypothetical nation.
George and Toula teach in the philosophy programme at La Trobe University
Following their conversation, there will be a screening of Molly Reynolds’ 2015 feature documentary “Another Country”