Burbank, Victoria Katherine Rutgers University Press, 1988 Library of Congress GN663.B88 1988 | Dewey Decimal 305.235089991509
This analysis of female adolescence in an Australian Aboriginal community focuses on adolescent sexual behavior, marriage, and the conflict between adult expectations and adolescent behavior in these domains.
Archiving Sovereignty shows how courts use fiction in their treatment of sovereign violence. Law's complicity with imperial and neocolonial practices occurs when courts inscribe and repeat the fabulous tales that provide an alibi for archaic sovereign acts that persist in the present. The United Kingdom's depopulation of islands in the Indian Ocean to serve the United States' neoimperial interests, Australia's exile and abandonment of refugees on remote islands, the failure to acknowledge genocidal acts or colonial dispossession, and the memorial work of the South African Constitution after apartheid are all sustained by historical fictions. This history-work of law constitutes an archive where sovereign violence is mediated, dissimulated, and sustained. Stewart Motha extends the concept of the "archive," as site of origin and source of authority, to signifying what law does in preserving and disavowing the past at the same time.
Sovereignty is often cast as a limit-concept, constituent force, determining the boundary of law. Archiving Sovereignty reverses this to explain how judicial pronouncements inscribe and sustain extravagant claims to exceptionality and sovereign solitude. This wide-ranging, critical work distinguishes between myths that sustain neocolonial orders and fictions that generate new forms of political and ethical life.
The Cunning of Recognition is an exploration of liberal multiculturalism from the perspective of Australian indigenous social life. Elizabeth A. Povinelli argues that the multicultural legacy of colonialism perpetuates unequal systems of power, not by demanding that colonized subjects identify with their colonizers but by demanding that they identify with an impossible standard of authentic traditional culture. Povinelli draws on seventeen years of ethnographic research among northwest coast indigenous people and her own experience participating in land claims, as well as on public records, legal debates, and anthropological archives to examine how multicultural forms of recognition work to reinforce liberal regimes rather than to open them up to a true cultural democracy. The Cunning of Recognition argues that the inequity of liberal forms of multiculturalism arises not from its weak ethical commitment to difference but from its strongest vision of a new national cohesion. In the end, Australia is revealed as an exemplary site for studying the social effects of the liberal multicultural imaginary: much earlier than the United States and in response to very different geopolitical conditions, Australian nationalism renounced the ideal of a unitary European tradition and embraced cultural and social diversity. While addressing larger theoretical debates in critical anthropology, political theory, cultural studies, and liberal theory, The Cunning of Recognition demonstrates that the impact of the globalization of liberal forms of government can only be truly understood by examining its concrete—and not just philosophical—effects on the world.
An indigenous reservation in the colony of Victoria, Australia, the Coranderrk Aboriginal Station was a major site of cross-cultural contact the mid-nineteenth century and early twentieth. Coranderrk was located just outside Melbourne, and from its opening in the 1860s the colonial government commissioned many photographs of its Aboriginal residents. The photographs taken at Coranderrk Station circulated across the western world; they were mounted in exhibition displays and classified among other ethnographic “data” within museum collections. The immense Coranderrk photographic archive is the subject of this detailed, richly illustrated examination of the role of visual imagery in the colonial project. Offering close readings of the photographs in the context of Australian history and nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century photographic practice, Jane Lydon reveals how western society came to understand Aboriginal people through these images. At the same time, she demonstrates that the photos were not solely a tool of colonial exploitation. The residents of Coranderrk had a sophisticated understanding of how they were portrayed, and they became adept at manipulating their representations.
Lydon shows how the photographic portrayals of the Aboriginal residents of Coranderrk changed over time, reflecting various ideas of the colonial mission—from humanitarianism to control to assimilation. In the early twentieth century, the images were used on stereotypical postcards circulated among the white population, showing what appeared to be compliant, transformed Aboriginal subjects. The station closed in 1924 and disappeared from public view until it was rediscovered by scholars years later. Aboriginal Australians purchased the station in 1998, and, as Lydon describes, today they are using the Coranderrk photographic archive in new ways, to identify family members and tell stories of their own.
How does an Aboriginal community see itself, its work, and its place on the land? Elizabeth Povinelli goes to the Belyuen community of northern Australia to show how it draws from deep connections between labor, language, and the landscape. Her findings challenge Western notions of "productive labor" and longstanding ideas about the role of culture in subsistence economies.
In Labor's Lot, Povinelli shows how everyday activities shape Aboriginal identity and provide cultural meaning. She focuses on the Belyuen women's interactions with the countryside and on Belyuen conflicts with the Australian government over control of local land. Her analysis raises serious questions about the validity of Western theories about labor and culture and their impact on Aboriginal society.
Povinelli's focus on women's activities provides an important counterpoint to recent works centering on male roles in hunter-gatherer societies. Her unique "cultural economy" approach overcomes the dichotomy between the two standard approaches to these studies. Labor's Lot will engage anyone interested in indigenous peoples or in the relationship between culture and economy in contemporary social practice.
In this volume, which has been hailed as a major breakthrough in understanding the meaning of the elaborate kinship systems currently existing in Australian Aboriginal societies, C. G. von Brandenstein argues that such systems refer to an archaic theory of "world order" common to all these societies. This controversial conclusion is based on native testimony and on a sophisticated linguistic analysis of a vast quantity of data collected by the author and others.
Though the author has restricted the results of his research to Aboriginal Australia, his methodological approach is generalizable. Hence this work will be of importance to specialists in many areas.
In a bold argument, Marilyn Lake shows that race and reform were mutually supportive as Progressivism became the political logic of settler colonialism at the turn of the 20th century. She points to exchanges between American and Australasian reformers who shared racial sensibilities, along with a commitment to forging an ideal social order.
In Remote Avant-Garde Jennifer Loureide Biddle models new and emergent desert Aboriginal aesthetics as an art of survival. Since 2007, Australian government policy has targeted "remote" Australian Aboriginal communities as at crisis level of delinquency and dysfunction. Biddle asks how emergent art responds to national emergency, from the creation of locally hunted grass sculptures to biliterary acrylic witness paintings to stop-motion animation. Following directly from the unprecedented success of the Western Desert art movement, contemporary Aboriginal artists harness traditions of experimentation to revivify at-risk vernacular languages, maintain cultural heritage, and ensure place-based practice of community initiative. Biddle shows how these new art forms demand serious and sustained attention to the dense complexities of sentient perception and the radical inseparability of art from life. Taking shape on frontier boundaries and in zones of intercultural imperative, Remote Avant-Garde presents Aboriginal art "under occupation" in Australia today.