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Issue Details: First known date: 2017... 2017 Sovereignty as a State of Craziness : Empowering Female Indigenous Psychologies in Australian “Reconciliatory Literature”
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Reading and writing must be more than passive processes of mimetic display; rather, they should offer a platform for psychological transformations across race and gender. Thus literary sovereignty vis-a-vis ownership of creative expression and representations of self can be reclaimed.This essay offers close analysis of contemporary Australian Indigenous literature to explore the sovereignty of feminist psychologies. Does creative writing reflect a strengthening of female Indigenous psychologies, and how might this implicate race relations and the decolonization of textual worlds? These questions are inspired by Alexis Wright’s most recent novel The Swan Book where she writes about “the quest to regain sovereignty over [her] own brain.” This article will explore the term craziness in a metaphorical sense: looking at whether rejecting dominant white culture equates to psychological sovereignty, improved mental well-being, and better race relations in imaginary realms. Indigenous characters in Wright’s The Swan Book and Marie Munkara’s Every Secret Thing may appear “crazy” for living in a state of indifference, but paradoxically, it is this state of “craziness” or indifference that empowers them to find psycho-logical peace and resist assimilation. Seeking psychological sovereignty means assuming a position so averse to patriarchy and colonization that it renders transformation in imaginary worlds,and urges transformation in the psyches of white readers too.'  (Publication abstract)


  • Epigraph: This is the quest to regain sovereignty over my own brain —Wright 2013, 4

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Hypatia : A Journal of Feminist Philosophy Contested Terrains : Women of Color and Third World Women, Feminisms, and Geopolitics vol. 32 no. 3 Summer 2017 14186997 2017 periodical issue

    'This special issue on “Contested Terrains” features feminist scholarship that explores the varied geopolitical landscapes on which contestations about feminist theories and practices regarding women of color and Third World women are situated. The experiences and perspectives of women of color and Third World women have been frequently erased, distorted, and manipulated both by dominant feminist discourses and by dominant geopolitical discourses. Long after the proclaimed demise of second‐wave feminism in the academy, neoliberal feminist discourses continue to dominate within neocolonial geopolitical regimes. These neoliberal discourses reduce women's liberation to the right to work, to accumulate private property, and to choose lifestyles based on Western patterns of consumption. Such discourses fail to address the pervasive impact of colonialism, structural racism, and Eurocentric cultural imperialism on women's lives in both the so‐called First World and the Third World. Within the Western context, dominant feminist discourses highlighting personal choice overshadow discussions of the public good and leave the most vulnerable members of neoliberal states—often women and girls of color—“free” to fend for themselves and responsible for what are deemed their own failures (Davis and Kelley 2012). At the same time, neoliberal feminist perspectives portray women from the Third World as lacking freedom and the ability to self‐govern. Portrayed as helpless victims of incorrigible Third World patriarchies, Third World women are constructed as dependent on interventions from the First World for their liberation (Spivak 1996; Abu‐Lughod 2002; Urs 2014). In both cases, the role of colonial and neocolonial perspectives and policies in creating, shaping, and sustaining women's oppression is largely ignored.' (Publication introduction)

    pg. 644-659
Last amended 20 Jul 2018 06:24:20
644-659 Sovereignty as a State of Craziness : Empowering Female Indigenous Psychologies in Australian “Reconciliatory Literature”small AustLit logo Hypatia : A Journal of Feminist Philosophy
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