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Textual spaces : aboriginality and cultural studies

Author: Stephen Muecke; International Australian Studies Association.
Publisher: Perth, W.A. : API Network, Australian Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology, 2005.
Edition/Format:   Print book : English : Rev. edView all editions and formats
Summary:
In the early days of white settlement, Australia was like a divided text: on one side of the frontier was a single language, English, which bore the ideology of the day - imperialism - and on the other side there were some 250 different language families. Colonial violence was based on problems of communication and culture. For instance, Aborigines were seen as having no written language and therefore no culture  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Stephen Muecke; International Australian Studies Association.
ISBN: 1920845100 9781920845100
OCLC Number: 224445090
Notes: Previously published University of New South Wales Press, 1992.
Description: xi, 194 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Contents: Introduction: space travel --
Ch. 1. Available discourses on Aborigines --
Ch. 2. Body, inscription, epistemology --
Ch. 3. History as texts --
Ch. 4. From structuralism to poststructuralism --
Ch. 5. Literature and politics --
Ch. 6. Aboriginal English and Aboriginal law --
Ch. 7. Appropriation or postcolonial renaissance? --
Ch. 8. Margin or mainstream? --
Ch. 9. Dialogue with a postgraduate student wanting to study Aboriginal culture.
Responsibility: Stephen Muecke.

Abstract:

In the early days of white settlement, Australia was like a divided text: on one side of the frontier was a single language, English, which bore the ideology of the day - imperialism - and on the other side there were some 250 different language families. Colonial violence was based on problems of communication and culture. For instance, Aborigines were seen as having no written language and therefore no culture worth respecting. But although they didn't have alphabetical writing, they did have complex forms of iconography. So what appears to be mere dots and lines to a non-Aborigine could in fact be spatial signs containing layers of meaning which can be 'read' by Western Desert people. Today, 'culture' is central to concepts of Aboriginality, but Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are continually being burdened with a western romantic concept of their culture. This has the effect of inhibiting other forms of Aboriginal development, and limiting the options offered to Aborigines in Australian society. The author examines not only textual representations but also social rituals and speech events as specific aspects of Aboriginal culture. He traces the shifts in theoretical approaches to Aboriginal texts, investigates an encounter between Aboriginal law and European law, discusses contemporary representations of landscape, postmodernism and Aboriginal art and music, and finally, he draws some important implications for the future.

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