How does one read across cultural boundaries? The multitude of creative texts, performance practices, and artworks produced by Indigenous writers and artists in contemporary Australia calls upon Anglo-European academic readers, viewers, and critics to respond to this critical question.
Contributors address a plethora of creative works by Indigenous writers, poets, playwrights, filmmakers, and painters, including Richard Frankland, Lionel Fogarty, Lin Onus, Kim Scott, Sam Watson, and Alexis Wright, as well as Durrudiya song cycles and works by Western Desert artists. The complexity of these creative works transcends categorical boundaries of Western art, aesthetics, and literature, demanding new processes of reading and response. Other contributors address works by non-Indigenous writers and filmmakers such as Stephen Muecke, Katrina Schlunke, Margaret Somerville, and Jeni Thornley, all of whom actively engage in questioning their complicity with the past in order to challenge Western modes of knowledge and understanding and to enter into a more self-critical and authentically ethical dialogue with the Other.
In probing the limitations of Anglo-European knowledge-systems, essays in this volume lay the groundwork for entering into a more authentic dialogue with Indigenous writers and critics.
Beate Neumeier is Professor and Chair of English at the University of Cologne. Her research is in gender, performance, and postcolonial studies. Editor of the e-journal
Gender Forum and the database GenderInn, she has published books on English Renaissance and contemporary anglophone drama, contemporary American and British-Jewish literature, and women’s writing.
Kay Schaffer, an Adjunct Professor in Gender Studies and Social Analysis at the University of Adelaide, is the author of ten books and numerous articles at the intersections of gender, culture, and literary studies. Her recent publications address the Stolen Generations in Australia, life narratives in human rights campaigns, and readings of contemporary Chinese women writers.
List of Illustrations
Beate Neumeier and Kay Schaffer:
Introduction Sharing Across Boundaries Kim Scott:
From Drill to Dance Stephen Muecke:
The Great Tradition: Translating Durrudiya’s Songs Anna Haebich:
Aboriginal Families, Knowledge, and the Archives: A Case Study Michael Christie:
Decolonizing Methodology in an Arnhem Land Garden Eleonore Wildburger:
The ‘Cultural Design’ of Western Desert Art Ethical and Other Encounters Ian Henderson:
Modernism, Antipòdernism, and Australian Aboriginality Bill Ashcroft:
Material Resonance: Knowing Before Meaning Lisa Slater:
Waiting at the Border: White Filmmaking on the Ground of Aboriginal Sovereignty Kay Schaffer:
Wounded Spaces/Geographies of Connectivity: Stephen Muecke’s No Road (bitumen all the way),
Margaret Somerville’s Body/Landscape Journals,
and Katrina Schlunke’s Bluff Rock: Autobiography of a Massacre
Recovering the Past: Entangled Histories in Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance
Reading Transformations Philip Mead:
The Geopolitical Underground: Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria,
Mining, and the Sacred Heinz Antor:
Identity and the Re-Assertion of Aboriginal Knowledge in Sam Watson’s The Kadaitcha Sung
Gallows Humour and Stereotyping in the Nyungar Writer. Alf Taylor’s Short Fiction: A White Cross-Racial Reading Katrin Althans:
“And in my dreaming I can let go of the spirits of the past”: Gothicizing the Common Law in Richard Frankland’s No Way to Forget
Performative Lives – Transformative Practices: Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman, The 7 Stages of Grieving,
and Richard Frankland, Conversations with the Dead
Notes on Contributors