Journal of the European Association for Studies of Australia (JEASA), Vol.7 No.1, 2016.
Presence, Meaning, and the Other in Katharine Susannah Prichard's Coonardoo: The Well in the Shadow
Abstract: This article reflects on the discursive strategies deployed by Katharine Susannah Pritchard's Coonardoo to undermine the then-dominant way of referring to Aboriginal-white relations, especially those involving sexuality. The novel does this through establishing Aboriginal culture as resembling a "presence culture" in Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht's terminology, while white-Australian culture is representative of a "meaning culture." Thus Coonardoo sets up a relationship between the two cultures that is reminiscent of the poststructuralist self/Other dichotomy. However, in contrast to most authors reflecting on the novel's representation of Aboriginal Otherness, this paper contends that Prichard's use of this dualism positions the two cultures in a way that allows for meaningful cultural exchange between them, rather than presenting these worldviews as incompatible with one another.
Keywords: Coonardoo, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, land, presence, Other, sexuality, Aboriginal-white relations, discourse of miscegenation
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