An Anthropological and Literary Study of Two Aboriginal by Linda Westphalen

By Linda Westphalen

Examines existence heritage writing through Australian Aboriginal ladies within the context of negotiations approximately one's prestige and claims to state. This booklet makes use of a methodological blend of literary research, historical past and anthropology to attract out the special cultural heritages held in palimpsest inside of texts.

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Extra info for An Anthropological and Literary Study of Two Aboriginal Women’s Life Histories: The Impacts of Enforced Child Removal and Policies of Assimilation

Example text

Until the 1970s, academic responses to Indigenous stories came almost exclusively from anthropologists (Berndt and Bemdt 1989: 2), who, with a few exceptions (see below), did not treat them as literature. Dreamings and other 'traditional' stories were not perceived as the territory of literary critics, while the presence of ethnographic data cast life-writing into the sphere of anthropology. Anthropological discourse initially operated within a paradigm of collection and then as discourse that enunciated and displayed the politic~social/religiouslculturallives of 'others' for the scrutiny of academics.

This is also apparent in studies relating to Indigenous life-histories, including this book. Anthropologist Gillian Cowlishaw also draws on the 'metaphor of the palimpsest' ... to draw attention to the active layering of cultural meanings in the material and habitual world of the everyday. It highlights the process by which the salience of those social forms which are enacted by one segment of society, continually obscure and contort the meanings generated among subordinate populations. What is hidden or undisclosed can remain powerful, although what is smothered may be dying unseen.

This text includes an introduction by anthropologist A. P. Elkin (in Thonemann 1949: 7-9), who also 35 'spent considerable time and trouble' correcting and editing the account of the narrator (Thonemann 1949: 6). ' (Thonemann 1949: 5, 1O), while Thonemann's family 'owned' and managed Elsey Station fiom 19 14 to 1959 (Dirngayg et al. 1996: xvi). Two other books are based at the same locationBig River Country: Stories 3 o m Elsey Station (Dirngayg et al. 1996), a compilation of Dreamings and more recent contact history fiom the Mangarrayi (Mungari) Language group, and Jeannie Gunn's We of the Never Never (1991: first published in 1908).

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