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Issue Details: First known date: 2024... 2024 Free to Roam : Foot Notes on Sovereignty in Indigenous Film and Fiction
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'Engagements with walking, wandering, roaming the land are not new to Australian writers or filmmakers. A recognition of ambulation as discursive, as world-making, continues today: “First you have to learn to walk,” announces Stephen Muecke in a new book, co-authored with Paddy Roe, on learning how to move on Country. Muecke’s teachers and guides are Indigenous knowledge-holders; he walks only in their footsteps. But in post-Mabo narratives more generally, whose lands are being walked on? Whose worlds are being made as mobility is performed? This essay examines the trope of roaming and of the foot in contemporary Australian Indigenous-authored narratives, wherein walking or mobility in story invokes not only a connection to Country but an enactment of law making and an assertion of Indigenous sovereignty. In a seminal speech in Adelaide in 2003, Indigenous legal philosopher Irene Watson asked “Are we Free to Roam?” Watson asserted the freedom to walk, “to sing and to live with the land of [one’s] ancestors” as a measure of the attainment of Indigenous sovereignty. She called for Aboriginal voices to look “beyond the limited horizon” of the time towards a moment and place of sovereignty. I argue that these voices have now emerged. Beginning with an examination of Ivan Sen’s film Beneath Clouds (2002), I then examine walking and movement in a selection of more recent Indigenous-authored novels (by Alexis Wright, Kim Scott and Julie Janson) and film (by Richard J. Frankland), as well as in new legal thinking which suggests that law-walking might be more prevalent in Australia than previously known.' (Publication abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon JASAL Special Issue : ASAL2022 Conference Issue vol. 23 no. 2 4 November 2024 27896608 2024 periodical issue

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    'For many years, the week scheduled for the annual conference of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) has coincided with NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day of Commemoration) Week, the event that celebrates the histories and cultures, and achievements and struggles, of Australia’s First Nations peoples. In 2022, the coincidence of these events was particularly apposite given that the focus of ASAL’s conference was the thirtieth anniversary, and the ongoing legacies on Australian writing, of the 1992 High Court Mabo decision. Over five days in early July 2022, on the Sandy Bay campus of the University of Tasmania (UTas), a program of speakers and papers, including five keynote presentations from First Nations writers and critics, explored the scholarship and analysis of the enduring repercussions of the landmark court case on Australian literary and cultural imaginaries.' (Introduction to Special Issue)

Last amended 23 Apr 2024 08:21:15 Free to Roam : Foot Notes on Sovereignty in Indigenous Film and Fictionsmall AustLit logo JASAL
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