Australian Society, Aboriginal Voices
The significance of Aboriginal writing as an emergent genre over the last twenty years; Aboriginal representations of Australian society and race relations this century; non-Indigenous representations of Aboriginal people in the history of Australian literature; Aboriginal texts as literature, history, and historiography; postcolonial theory and interpretation; Aboriginal cinema and performance and its relation to the emergence of Aboriginal writing and specific cultures; oral histories and questions of transcription and translation; publishing contexts, audiences and autonomy; questions of cross-cultural understanding and Reconciliation.
This course provides you with an opportunity to read, enjoy and evaluate a wide range of autobiographical and historical accounts, novels, short stories, poetry and drama written by Aboriginal Australians. You will also have the opportunity to study films, play scripts and performances (when available). For the purposes of this course, we use the term Aboriginal voices and Aboriginal writing interchangeably to encompass a whole array of Aboriginal self-representation and storytelling practices.
Aboriginal writing, both in its creative and critical response to paradigms of history, race and representation, has emerged as an important genre within Australian literature in the last thirty years. We will be exploring these texts as a way of understanding the diversity of experiences that have shaped Aboriginal people, their attitudes, values and aspirations today. At the same time, the works offer important insights into Australian society generally as they redress non-Indigenous representations of social history, politics, economic life, and provide a wealth of detail about daily life and cultural values over the last hundred years. Importantly, these texts speak back to colonial and western ways of thinking and representing race and identity.
On completion of this course, students should be able to:
to read extensively from a range of texts by Aboriginal authors from specific places and different generations, and engage with a variety of genres and media.
to explore the way Aboriginal people were represented in literature in the early twentieth century and trace the emergence of a significant body of Aboriginal writing over the last thirty years.
to discuss the political motivations behind writing and other forms of Indigenous self-representation.
to examine Aboriginal writing as both literature and history from a number of different theoretical perspectives, from literary analysis to postcolonial and poststructuralist critique.
demonstrate familiarity with a wide range of Aboriginal texts.
set the emergence of Aboriginal literature in its historical, political, social, economic and intellectual context.
identify central themes, issues, styles and forms within the literature according to region and generation.
make comparisons with other literary and historical representations of Aboriginal life.
to discuss the texts in their potential for dialogue between non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians, and examine the politics of audience in the context of Reconciliation.
have an understanding of Aboriginal perspectives on Australian society.
analyse the texts within a range of contemporary theory relating to historiography, phenomenology, representation, construction of identity, and postcolonial literature.
Book Review - 600 words - 15%; Tutorial Presentation and 1500 word essay - 35%; Major Essay - 2400 words - 50%