Challenging and Reinventing White Australia's Historical Narrativity and Identitarian Assumptions Apropos of Aboriginality

Danica Čerče



Framed by an interest in literature as “a space for exploring the possibilities of change” (Levine 2000), the article deals with the contemporary Australian Indigenous poetry. Until very recently a marginalized voice in Australian literary studies, this poetry has obtained an important role in the articulation of Indigenous peoples’ political thought, successfully contesting the myth of historical objectivity as embedded in a single representation of the past. By focusing on Jeanine Leane’s 2010 collection Dark Secrets: After Dreaming (AD 1887-1961), the article investigates how the poet uses her medium to interpellate the historical construction of a Eurocentric world. More specifically, it shows how, by filling the gaps in the official records with “transgenerational blood memory” and creating the awareness of the variety of ways of historical representation, Leane challenges the strategies by which white Australia disseminated and maintained the patterns that established whites as superior and all others as necessarily inferior. As such, Leane’s poetry intervenes in the ongoing reproduction of whiteness as a system of dominance and contributes to the recreation of independent and vital Indigenous identity.


Australian indigenous poetry, historical narrativity, identity constructs, Jeanine Leane, postcolonial protest

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Kritika Kultura
Department of English
School of Humanities
Ateneo de Manila University

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International Board of Editors

Jan Baetens
Faculty of Arts
Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven (Belgium)

Joel David
Professor of Cultural Studies
Inha University (South Korea)

Michael Denning
Professor of American Studies and English
Department of English
Yale University (US)

Faculty of Cultural Sciences
Universitas Gadjah Mada (Indonesia)

Regenia Gagnier
Professor of English
University of Exeter (UK)

Leela Gandhi
John Hawkes Professor of the Humanities and English
Brown University (US)

Inderpal Grewal
Professor of Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies
Professor of South Asian Studies, Ethnicity, Race and Migration Studies
Yale University (US)

Peter Horn
Professor Emeritus and Honorary Lifetime Fellow
University of Cape Town (South Africa)
Honorary Professor and Research Associate in German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

Anette Horn
Professor of German Studies
University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)

David Lloyd
Distinguished Professor of English
University of California, Riverside (US)

Bienvenido Lumbera
National Artist for Literature
Professor Emeritus
University of the Philippines

Rajeev S. Patke
Director of the Division of Humanities
Professor of Humanities
Yale NUS College (Singapore)

Vicente L. Rafael
Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor of History
University of Washington (US)

Vaidehi Ramanathan
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Davis (US)

Temario Rivera
Professorial Lecturer
Department of Political Science
University of the Philippines

E. San Juan, Jr.
Philippines Studies Center (US)

Neferti X.M. Tadiar
Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Barnard College (US)
Director of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race
Columbia University (US)

Antony Tatlow
Honorary Professor of Drama
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)