Michael Dodson has commented that the ‘repossession of our past is the repossession of ourselves’ – yet since the 1980s, the translation of such sentiments within Australian historical novels has often been informed by didactic, politically-correct responses to postcolonial theoretical dogma. Controversial, often agonistic debates have surrounded both black and white renderings of Australian pasts within literary cultures. This paper argues that the notion of intercultural subjectivity, as put forward by Australian Indigenous cultural critic, Professor Marcia Langton, has enabled a timely post-millennial re-evaluation of Spivakian notions of subject positions and orthodox theories of otherness. Langton’s influential ideas have been reflected by less prescriptive approaches to the portrayal of Indigenous material by both black and white writers. I will show how the recent novels of Peter Carey, Kim Scott, Murray Bail, Kate Grenville and other novelists, in keeping with Langton’s cultural framework, have opened debates about the re-presentation of the colonial archive and portrayals of Indigeneity.
|Keywords:||Postcolonialism, Contact Zones, Contemporary Australian Culture, Colonial Imaginaries, Australian Contemporary Fiction, Historical Novels|
Lecturer, The School of Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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