Humanities Research

Provides articles in the arts and humanities.

Articles

Vol. 19, No. 2, 2013

Introduction: The World and World-Making in Art
This special issue of Humanities Research offers a selection of papers presented at the international conference 'The World and World-Making in Art: Connectivities and Differences' held at The Australian National University (ANU) from 11-13 August 2011.1The...
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Worlds Pictured in Contemporary Art: Planes and Connectivities
It is difficult to imagine a theme more relevant to contemporary concerns than that of this conference.1 The imagining of worlds within the World is a topic that has concerned me for some time, to the extent of nominating it in recent publications as...
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The Precarious Ecologies of Cosmopolitanism
Making Worlds After the FactFleeting, fragile patterns, rendered in dust, gradually covered the floor of an abandoned Georgian farmhouse in Bicker, Lincolnshire, as the artist Catherine Bertola meticulously 'cleaned' the space from dawn to dusk each...
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Contemporaneous Traditions: The World in Indigenous Art/ Indigenous Art in the World
It may turn out ... that going back can be a way to go forward.1Multiple ModernitiesIn the 1980s postmodernism's retro culture was widely diagnosed as the endgame of modernism. Some suggested that a bigger endgame was in play. Hal Foster glimpsed the...
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Making Worlds: Art, Words and Worlds
Introduction'The world' seems, often, to be more a proposition than a place, more a theory than a thing-in-itself. The fluidity of its meanings means that the dominant discourse tends to focus on the conceptual, the economic and the political, rather...
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Il Gesto: Global Art and Italian Gesture Painting in the 1950s
This essay examines how the remarkably vibrant and cosmopolitan art scene in post-war Italy helped to shape a society undergoing a difficult period of transition. In a few short years, despite catastrophic economic problems and deep, ongoing political...
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The Third Biennale of Sydney: 'White Elephant or Red Herring?'
The focus of this essay is the indisputably important 1979 Biennale of Sydney, which launched Sydney's biennial as an international event seeking out adventurous art from Western Europe and the USA. We will argue that it sought both to present an image...
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The Challenge of Uninvited Guests: Social Art at the Blue House
The Blue House was an ambitious and multifaceted social art project conceived and conducted by Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk from mid- 2005.1 The project involved artists and others undertaking social art research practices to investigate the then...
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Tolerance: The World of Yang Fudong
In an essay titled 'Poetry and Painting' Simon Leys discusses the Chinese scholarly art of brush-and-ink painting, a practice in which calligraphic mark making, the careful balancing of ink brush strokes and areas of void, or darkness and light, is understood...
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Vol. 19, No. 1, 2013

Introduction: Understanding Nationalism through Biographies
This issue on biographical approaches to the study of nationalism emerged from an international symposium ('European Nationalism and Biography') held in December 2011 at the Centre for European Studies of The Australian National University in Canberra....
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Nationalism, Biography and the Ecology of Identity
IntroductionSince confession has been one of the classic genres of biography since Saint Augustine wrote his, let me begin with a confession: I am not a biographer. But while I haven't worked on biography, my work on nationalism and national identity...
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Becoming National? G. M. Trevelyan: The Dilemmas of a Liberal (Inter)nationalist, 1900-1945
On the face of it, biography, with its focus on intimate, personal identity, seems an unpromising genre for addressing the public, collective idioms of nationalism. But arguably the national is but One dimension in which a general theory of identity......
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Enoch Powell: The Lonesome Leader
IntroductionBy all accounts Enoch Powell was not someone you would warm to, but his personal awkwardness was offset by his enduring popular appeal - a charisma that enabled support for his political causes to cross class boundaries and party affiliations....
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The Personal Nationalism of Helmut Kohl: A Paragon of Germany's New Normality?
IntroductionHelmut Kohl, the purported 'Chancellor of Unity', is a key figure in the history of German nationalism. During the Cold War era, when a German nation-state was territorially absent and society in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) had...
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Richard Sulík: A Provincial or a European Slovak Politician?
Richard Sulík, a controversial Slovak political leader, embodies the conflicting nature of Slovak nationalism(s) since 1989. It has been argued that the process of post-communist transition in Central Europe has been driven by contradictory forces of...
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Nationalism and Biographical Transformation: The Case of Boudicca
IntroductionIf the purpose of nationalist historiography is to construct a past worthy of the present and future then the role of heroic individuals in the course of key historical events and developments and the construction of suitable biographies...
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Closing Reflections: Confronting Contradictions in Biographies of Nations and Persons
The biography of a nation is not the same as the biography of a person. That much is simple. One is about a single person's life history and the other is about the formation of a community of persons. On the other hand, analytically describing how a...
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Vol. 18, No. 1, 2012

Preface: Perspectives on Ethnographic Film
In 2011, The Australian National University celebrated sixty years of anthropology with a conference and exhibition that included panels and displays on the use of film within anthropology as a discipline. In the same year, the Centre for Visual Anthropology...
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Becoming a Visual Anthropologist
Histories are full of pitfalls, especially if written by those who have had a part in them.- David MacDougall1I have decided to use biography as the framework for this essay. Ethnographic film has been central to my engagement with anthropology since...
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The Ethnographic Filmmaking of Ian Dunlop in a Decade of Change
IntroductionIn 1979 Ian Dunlop produced a paper covering the first seventy years of ethnographic filmmaking in Australia.1 This was a period of significant achievement, starting as it did with the first ethnographic footage shot on location anywhere...
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Discussion between Gary Kildea and David MacDougall about Celso and Cora1
Canberra, May-October 2001[Note: This discussion is edited from a longer conversation. Asterisks indicate where sections of the conversation have been omitted.]D: I think our most important objective should be to look at your intentions, because these...
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Discussion between David MacDougall and Gary Kildea about Doon School Chronicles
Canberra, August-October 2002[Note: This discussion is edited from a longer conversation. Asterisks indicate where sections of the conversation have been omitted.]G: Maybe you can talk a little bit about how you came to put Doon School Chronicles together...
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A Multi-Species Etho-Ethnographic Approach to Filmmaking
Through the filming of herders and herd animals within a multi-species hybrid community - essentially two herding encampments in Mongolia - I provide an example of an alternative methodological approach to both ethnographic filmmaking and multi-species...
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Beyond All Utterance: Reflections on the Making of the Films Memoirs of a Plague and Locusts: Creatures of the Flood
All visible objects, man, are but as pasteboard masks.- Herman Melville, Moby Dick1This paper reflects on the making of two very different films by the author. Both films were on the same subject: our relationship with locusts. One film, Memoirs of a...
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Knowing Stillness
Daisy: I'm totally into this thing of whatever you're doing, just being there and being yourself. I mean, not trying to do something above or below, just trying to be very honest and very open. In a performance the best and the strongest performance...
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Vol. 17, No. 2, 2011

Emerging Perspectives on Automobilities in Non-Urban Australia: A Context for Cruising Country
Since the early twentieth century, motor vehicles of all descriptions have been central characters in the settlement, governance and representation of Australia. They have been, and remain, objects of desire and exchange, characters in subsistence, ceremonial...
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The Flip Side: Women on the Redex around Australia Reliability Trials of the 1950s
In August 1953 almost 200 cars set off from the Sydney Showgrounds in what popular motoring histories have called the biggest, toughest, most ambitious, demanding, 'no-holds-barred' race, which 'caught the public imagination' and 'fuelled the nation...
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'Going Back': Journeys with David MacDougall's Link-Up Diary
Imagine there'd been a battle on a battlefield. It's over, and people are moving away. But the wounded are still lying out there. Well, someone must go back for those wounded. What we're doing is going back for the wounded and bringing them with us because...
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'Now We Got Truck Everywhere, We Don't Travel Anywhere': A Phenomenology of Travelling by Community Mutika in the Northern Kimberley, Western Australia
Motor vehicles tend to be highly personalised in all kinds of cultural milieus. The process of personalisation is primarily achieved through a projection of the travelling subject's own bodily schema onto the body of the vehicle. These strongly libidinal/narcissistic...
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Country Love (Day 1)
After Christmas I went out along Undoolya road as I offer do to walk the dog I turned into one of the bush tracks and was drawn to a bright green car in the red sand with the doors open like flags Lots of bunched up clothing was scattered around and...
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Roadworks: Automobility and Belonging in Aboriginal Art
Life is old thereOlder than the treesYounger than the mountainsGrowin' like a breezeCountry Roads, take me homeTo the place I belong . . .*IntroductionAs a growing corpus of contemporary art reveals, automobility has a strong presence in Aboriginal cultural...
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'We're Not Truckin' Around': On and Off-Road in Samuel Wagan Watson's Smoke Encrypted Whispers
Cars and roads traverse the poetry of Samuel Wagan Watson, a self-identified Aboriginal man of Bundjalung, Birri Gubba, German and Irish ancestry.1 The narrator/s of the poems in Smoke Encrypted Whispers are repeatedly on the road or beside it, and driving...
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Fuel, Cars and the Geography of Petrol Sniffing
The petrol which kids and adults are sniffing, well it's really bad. It makes people Ustless, and will make you sick. It will burn you away, your lungs, liver, brains, heart, eyes. Tell them immediately to stop, you mothers, fathers and anyone else....
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Vol. 17, No. 1, 2011

Introduction
The articles in this special edition of Humanities Research began as papers presented at the Ninth Biennial Conference of the Association of Iberian and Latin American Studies of Australasia in 2010. The conference marked a momentous occasion for those...
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Carme Riera's En El úLtimo Azul (1994): An Encounter with Spain's Conflicted Past
Carme Ri era's novel En el ?ltimo azul ? published first in Catalan in 1994 and then in 1996 in a Castilian translation prepared by the author herself ? presents the story of a group of crypto-Jews [chuetas) living in seventeenth-century Majorca whose...
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White Hegemony in the (Re)Birth of Brazil
AbstractOn 7 September 1822, Dom Pedro de Alcantara, Prince Regent and future Emperor of Brazil, uttered the most famous cry in Brazilian history: 'Independence or death!' The symbolic power of the royal cry-known as the Grito de Ipiranga-has served...
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Confronting Genocide: Latin America, Adventure Fiction and the Moral Crisis of British Imperialism
Adventure fiction was widely employed by British writers during the nineteenth century to address serious questions of politics and morality, particularly those arising from the nation's imperial responsibilities. The nineteenth-century adventure tales...
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Rethinking the Nation in the Chilean and Australian Bicentenaries
AbstractBicentenaries, as created and chosen historical moments, can be considered a space for reflection on the achievements and challenges of a nation and its collective project in a setting of contestations. This article argues that rethinking the...
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Literary Patriotism in Ecuador's Juan León Mera and Juan De Velasco
Nineteenth-century nation builders in Ecuador looked to the past for models of national unity and identity. The prolific writer and government servant Juan Le?n Mera served the theocratic state of ultraconservative President Gabriel Garcia Moreno, whose...
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A Bolivarian People: Identity Politics in Hugo Chávez's Venezuela
AbstractThe 1998 electoral success of Hugo Chávez brought about a dramatic shift in Venezuelan identity. While rhetorically inclusive at first glance, references to the 'Venezuelan people' would not speak to all Venezuelans. Rather, the 'people' would...
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Vol. 16, No. 3, 2010

Poland, 1980-1984: A Witness to History
The late Francis Stuart, the first Australian Ambassador to be resident in Poland, wrote an interesting book about his long career in the Foreign Service. Towards Coming of Age was published in 1989 and Stuart's reflections on his last post abroad, to...
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The Solidarity Decade in Eastern Europe, 1980-1989: An Australian Perspective
One seldom finds a consensual view among historians of recent events, but very few would object to calling the 10 years that preceded the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe the 'Solidarity Decade'. It is spanned by two crucial events, both related...
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My Solidarity Memories from Gdansk
Like most members of my generation, I grew up with vivid memories of the brutal suppression of workers' protests in Gdansk in December 1970. At that time, the communist authorities ordered the army and the police to open fire on the protesters. About...
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1989-2009: 'In Poland Everything Is Possible, Even Changes for the Better'
I came across my title in a book prepared for Adam Michnik's sixtieth birthday by some of his close friends and admirers. The book included many reminders of an earlier Poland, including a transcript of a telephone conversation of 1986. Michnik was in...
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The Solidarity Days: A Short Reminiscence
With the retrospect of two decades, the denouement of the Solidarity saga and the revolutionary tide that swept across the face of Central Europe now seem dusted by a deceptive sheen of inevitability. But for those plunged in the hurtling cascade of...
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The Solidarity Decade
The Solidarity Decade began for me when, as a backpacker barely out of his teens, I visited Gdansk in the summer of 1980. Too young to sense the undercurrents of unrest that were simmering in the working-class areas of that port city, I was content to...
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The Solidarity Decade: 1980-1989
What is called here the 'Solidarity Decade' covers the developments between September 1980, the beginning of the mass, organised, peaceful and negotiated dismantling of communist domination in the Soviet Bloc, and September 1989, the formation of the...
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The Contribution of the Polish Intelligentsia to the Breakthrough of 1989
In his recollections of the events of June 1979, the former Solidarity advisor Adam Michnik has described this moment in history as a time of three Polish miracles. First, John Paul II returns triumphantly to Poland as the Pope, making a mockery of Stalin's...
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One Summer in Gdansk: Poland's Leadership in Transition from the Socialist Legal Model
(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)One Summer in GdanskIn 1989 I was undertaking research at the University of Bremen into what became my PhD topic.1 I had involved myself in peace and environmental issues in Melbourne2 and took great...
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The Breakthrough: Polish Elections in June 1989
History needs a broad perspective and it is most clear when aided by hindsight and long distance. The 20 years that have just passed since the memorable June of 1989 provide a most useful platform for assessing the historical importance of the three...
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The 'Cooperative' Mode of Dismantling Communism: From Groundbreaking to Ordinary
IntroductionDevelopments in Poland in January- June 1989 set the stage for the final breakdown of the Soviet hegemony in Europe, whereas the launching of the Balcerowicz stabilisation-cum-transformation program paved the way for establishing foundations...
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The European Union's Politics of Identity and the Legacy of 1989
The European Union loves anniversaries. To the extent that the European Union seeks to foster European identity, it is not surprising that it is increasingly deploying tools and methods that states use to create nations: commemoration of key moments...
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Vol. 16, No. 2, 2010

Introduction: Key Thinkers and Their Contemporary Legacy
This special issue of Humanities Research journal draws on a selection of papers from The Australian National University's 'Key Thinkers' lecture series, which I convened in 2008 and 2009 under the aegis of the Research School of Humanities. As a postgraduate...
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Thinking with Stanner in the Present
In recent years the work of Australian anthropologist W. E. H. Stanner has enjoyed something of a revival. To mark the centenary of his birth in 2005, Jeremy Beckett and I organised a conference and then edited An Appreciation of Difference,1 a volume...
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Volney and the Science of Morality in Revolutionary France
AbstractToday, Constantin François Volney (1757-1820) is an obscure figure. He was once one of the most notorious philosophers in Europe. Celebrated and reviled in equal measure, this philosopher, historian, linguist, travel writer and politician was...
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Judith Butler: Disturbance, Provocation and the Ethics of Non-Violence
To be human seems to mean being in a predicament that one cannot solve. - Judith Butler, Giving an Account of Oneself, p. 103Troubled thoughtJudith Butler's Gender Trouble (1990) profoundly shaped critical inquiry in the decade that followed its publication...
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Raphaël Lemkin, Creator of the Concept of Genocide: A World History Perspective1
Genocide is one of those rare concepts whose author and inception can be precisely specified and dated. The term was created by the brilliant PolishJewish and later American jurist Raphaël Lemkin (1900-59) in 'Genocide' in his book Axis Rule in Occupied...
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Mary Wollstonecraft Revisited
In 1976, I began teaching the first women's studies course at The Australian National University. That course had been fought for and won as a result of student agitation, supported by some academic staff, and I was fortunate enough to be appointed as...
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Vol. 16, No. 1, 2010

Passing Strange and Post-Civil Rights Blackness1
The American in Europe is everywhere confronted with the question of his identity.2In her groundbreaking 2000 article 'Black like this: race, generation, and rock in the post-civil rights era', anthropologist Maureen Mahon describes the 'contemporary...
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What Passes in Imitation of Life (1959)?
You can't escape what you are.1The above epigraph comes from Jon Halliday 's well-known interview with Douglas Sirk, the director of Imitation of Life (1959), and is made in reference to the condition of the racial passer in Sirk's film. It could be...
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Necktie Nightmare: Narrating Gender in Contemporary Japan
Introduction1...the thing I hated most of all was the necktie.When I wore a necktie, there was just no doubt that I was a man.The image was of a salaryman! The mainstay of the house! The symbol of manhood!2These are the words of Nômachi Mineko in the...
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An Interview with Anna Broinowski, Director of Forbidden Lies (2007)1
Monique Rooney: Let's start by talking about how we might think of Forbidden Lies as a film about 'passing'. Your film interests me because it explores passing in a very contemporary socio-cultural context. If we think about the black person who passed...
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Introduction: Passing, Imitations, Crossings
When it was revealed that Anglo-Australian writer Helen Darville had passed as Ukrainian to publish a novel about the Holocaust, there was much public and scholarly debate about the nature of identity and the meaning of multiculturalism.1 Such 'passing'...
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Passing for an Author: The Strange Case of J. T. LeRoy
The photograph depicts a child - perhaps nine or ten years old - with bushy brown hair and bright, dark eyes that reveal a certain strong-willed ambition. In a portrait from the mid-1970s, the child wears a T-shirt emblazoned with the words 'I want to...
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Mary Carleton's False Additions: The Case of the 'German Princess'
Mary Moders Carleton aka Henrietta Maria de Wolway, the 'German Princess' (1635-73), was the subject of a sensational trial at the Old Bailey in 1663 in which she successfully defended herself against charges of bigamy and imposture brought by her new...
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Audible Identities: Passing and Sound Technologies
At the March 2008 conference of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections held at Stanford University, audio historians played what they claim is the first recording of the human voice. It is a presumably female voice singing Au clair de la lune,...
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Vol. 15, No. 3, 2009

Decolonising Testimony: On the Possibilities and Limits of Witnessing1
When Shoshana Felman and Dori Laub published their foundational text, Testimony: Crises of witnessing in literature, psychoanalysis and history, in 1992, they claimed that the twentieth century was 'the era of the witness'.2 They focused specifically...
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Can the Institution Speak? the University as Testimony in Canada Today
This article has two parts, each exploring the possibility and effectiveness of testimony. In the first part, I take up Gayatri Spivak's endlessly exacting question, 'Can the subaltern speak?'1 The essay so entitled connects testimony to postcolonial...
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Reconciliation as Ritual: Comparative Perspectives on Innovation and Performance in Processes of Reconciliation
In the past three decades, extraordinary developments have taken place in a number of countries making a transition from authoritarian regimes to democratic governments.1 This has given rise to the emergent field of study of transitional justice.2 As...
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'Healing the Heartbreak'?: The Role of Testimony in the Australian Inquiry into the Separation of Indigenous Children from Their Families1
The Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's (HREOC) inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families provided a forum for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and others to speak...
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Used and Abused
There is an image of my father that sticks in my mind: he is a child about six years old attending the Old Sun Residential School.1 As he tells it, he was extremely lonely and wanted to go home. The residential staff would not allow this and would punish...
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Buffalo Boy Testifies: Decolonising Visual Testimony in a Colonial-Settler Society
IntroductionIn this article, I will examine two visual projects by the artist Adrian Stimson: an installation entitled Old Sun (2008) and a performance-art event entitled Buffalo Boy's Confessional: Indulgence (2007). These works reveal and give shape...
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Ancestors Rising: Aboriginal Art as Historical Testimonials
Testimony - the attesting to the truth of a matter - is often thought of in legal terms as a form of evidence based on fact or perceived opinions, though there is as well the personal testimony, the bearing of one's truth or personal experience for all...
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In an Era of Stalled Reconciliation: The Uncanny Witness of Ray Lawrence's Jindabyne
Ray Lawrence's Australian film Jindabyne is a powerful national allegory about the denial of historical responsibility and the politics of post-colonial apology across a 'traumatic contact zone' of historical injustice.1 Released in 2006, Jindabyne was...
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Other Echoes in the Garden
I want to begin with a 'narrative memory' - a term I borrow from Neil McLeod's recent book Cree Narrative Memory - to introduce my billboard project Linkage. McLeod, speaking inreference to storytelling and indigenous peoples, notes that 'it is a sense...
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This Is Not a Game: Testimony and the Making and Unmaking of the Child as a Political Subject
In Canada in May 2006, Deborah Ellis's book Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli children speak became an object of controversy when the Canadian Jewish Congress protested its availability to junior elementary students in the Toronto school system....
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