Anthropological and Literary Study of Two Australian Aboriginal Women’s Life Histories

Author: Westphalen, Linda
Year:2012
Pages:480
ISBN:0-7734-1593-9
978-0-7734-1593-5
Price:299.95
This book examines life history writing by Australian Aboriginal women in the context of ongoing negotiations about one's status and claims to country. It uses a methodological combination of literary analysis, history and anthropology to draw out the distinctive cultural heritages held in palimpsest within texts.

Reviews

“The layering of metaphor and evocation of the personal adds to the pleasure of reading the book. This is a groundbreaking work of extraordinary scholarship, a tribute to the women who wrote about their lives and to [the author] commitment to make their stories more explicable to a wider audience.”-Prof. Lyndall Ryan, University of Newcastle

"Westphalen's anthropological, literary and historical study of the life-writing of Alice Nannup and Ruby Langford Ginibi offers an original and nuanced understanding of their work, and provides an excellent for reading indigenous life-writing in the context of continuing connections to dreaming, country and people. This book offers exciting possibilities for reframing and re-reading the space between the colonial past and the decolonising present, and makes a compelling argument for a radical shift in the way in which scholars considers and understand indigenous women's life-writing today." -- Prof. Jeanine Leane, Australian National University

"... persuasive and appealing. Drawing deftly on relevant ethnographies, regional histories and policy history, she turns their autobiographical words into threads in a vivid tapestry. " -- Prof. Tim Rowse, University of Western Sydney

Table of Contents

SECTION ONE DEADLY LIVES

Chapter One: Introduction
'Every little bit of it is true...'
The Palimpsest: Country and Literature
Teaching and Learning: Alice Nannup and Ruby Langford Ginibi
Dreamings: Biographies of Creation
The Primacy of the Written and the Challenge to the Academy: Methodological Considerations
Methodology and Structure: Deadly Lives
Definitions

Chapter Two Ethics: Knowing My Place
Establishing Perspectives

SECTION TWO SPACES THAT 'SPEAK'

Chapter Three Indigenous 'Autobiographical' Writing, Dreaming and History
Indigenous Life-history and the Academy
Indigenous Life-Histories and Country
Indigenous Life-history as Journey
Form: Autobiography?
Reclaiming Space
Style
Intent
Spaces that 'Speak'

SECTION THREE PALIMPSESTS

Chapter 4 Kangan Girl
Ngulyi, Tom Bassett and Constraining Institutions
Alice Nannup: Growing Up Yindjibarndi
Finally Coming Home
Conclusion to Chapter Four

Chapter Five We all find our way home...
Missions and the 'gubberment1: Power, Greed and Gain
1 Bundjalung Country
'They don't take our Butherah': Aunty Ruby's Learning
Conclusion to Chapter Five

SECTION FOUR WHITE-OUT?
M
Chapter 6 The Pelican and the Moore River Joke
South to School
A. O. Neville and the 'Sociological Experiment'
Moore River
Conclusion to Chapter Six

Chapter 7 First in My Class
Segregation, Assimilation, Democratisation and Education
A Gem of Purest Ray Serene
Conclusion to Chapter Seven

SECTION FIVE 'NINGINAH! STOP!1

Chapter Eight Deadly Lives
Anthropology as a Tool of Translation: an Assessment
Aboriginal History, Presence and Disadvantage
Deadly Lives - the Laughing Pelican and the Wagtail's Message

Bibliography