Indigenous Australian cultures were long known to the world mainly from the writing of anthropologists, ethnographers, historians, missionaries, and others. Indigenous Australians themselves have worked across a range of genres to challenge and reconfigure this textual legacy, so that they are now strongly represented through their own life-narratives of identity, history, politics, and culture. Even as Indigenous-authored texts have opened up new horizons of engagement with Aboriginal knowledge and representation, however, the textual politics of some of these narratives - particularly when cross-culturally produced or edited - can remain haunted by colonially grounded assumptions about orality and literacy.
Through an examination of key moments in the theorizing of orality and literacy and key texts in cross-culturally produced Indigenous life-writing, Entangled Subjects explores how some of these works can sustain, rather than trouble, the frontier zone established by modernity in relation to 'talk' and 'text'. Yet contemporary Indigenous vernaculars offer radical new approaches to how we might move beyond the orality-literacy 'frontier', and how modernity and the a-modern are productively entangled in the process.
Number of pages: 350
Weight: 762 g
Dimensions: 235 x 155 x 25 mm
"This fascinating work is the most subtle and complete account of one of the most significant periods of the production of Indigenous Australian writing to date. The traces of the oral and the written are equally complex and signifying, performative and fixed; they are both the product of and engender 'messy' social and textual relations. Editing, cleaning up the textual mess, is examined here as a textual politics, and Grossman never takes her eye off the ball as a series of texts are analysed from the 1980s to the end of the twentieth century. It is these possibilities and expanded productions - enabled by new theories, new technologies, and more democratic race relations - that this work pays critical homage to." - Stephen Muecke, University of New South Wales
"Part of the interest here is that Grossman can look back over more than a decade of intensive activity, academic and otherwise, in this field, in which she is already a key player. This project develops a sophisticated, intricate, and subtle inquiry which practises academic prose at its best. There is here a rigorous and generous attention to the work of other scholars, in Australia and elsewhere, to the diverse forms of cultural expression adopted by Indigenous Australians, and to the long and difficult process of learning that has produced this fine piece of scholarship." - Gillian Whitlock, University of Queensland
"This superb book will become essential and pleasurable reading for any scholar interested in Indigenous Australian writing in general, despite its particular focus on life-writing. Grossman's prolonged thinking about issues of self-representation, collaborative texts, orality and literacy, and the engagement of interested white people with texts produced by Aboriginal people, participates in so many debates concerning the practice and theorization of Aboriginal Australian textuality that even informed readers will be stimulated." - David Callahan, University of Aveiro
"The vexed terms of orality and literacy provide a fertile site, as Grossman's work illustrates, for a discussion of the complexities of the 'entangled' and intertwined spaces that the two occupy. Entanglement is fluid and dynamic. A confused space is a good place to begin a conversation.
Entangled subjects offers a rigorous interrogation of Western discourses surrounding orality and literacy that challenges ideas of where the 'centre' might be located and how multiple centres of truth and textuality may exist and operate simultaneously. Vexation is a catalyst for Grossmann - a sign to move beyond current constraints and 'ready-made' concepts that have governed critical approaches to both collaborative Indigenous life writing and modernity's positioning of orality and literacy." - Jeanine Leane, Australian Centre for Indigenous History, Australian National University