'In 1982, Sally Morgan travelled back to her grandmother's birthplace. What started as a tentative search for information about her family, turned into an overwhelming emotional and spiritual pilgrimage. My Place is a moving account of a search for truth into which a whole family is gradually drawn, finally freeing the tongues of the author's mother and grandmother, allowing them to tell their own stories.' Source: Publisher's blurb.
'This is the first book to examine how Australian fiction writers draw on family histories to reckon with the nation's colonial past. Located at the intersection of literature, history, and sociology, it explores the relationships between family storytelling, memory, and postcolonial identity. With attention to the political potential of family histories, Reckoning with the Past argues that authors' often autobiographical works enable us to uncover, confront, and revise national mythologies. An important contribution to the emerging global conversation about multidirectional memory and the need to attend to the effects of colonisation, this book will appeal to an interdisciplinary field of scholarly readers. '
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'During the 1980s Aboriginal Australians experienced setbacks in their quest for the restoration of their land rights. Neoliberal politics reframed such demands as special interests seeking to gain a material advantage at the expense of the general community and as a threat to the economic security of the nation. As a consequence, politicians failed to pass legislation that would formalize the national land rights system that would guarantee Aboriginal economic self-sufficiency. This paper argues that it was in this context that Aboriginal memoir emerged to prompt social action by recounting experiences of discrimination and exploitation erased by official history and by challenging the imposed racist stereotypes used to marginalize Aboriginal claims. These memoirs prompted sympathy and understanding among a broad readership, which enabled the formation of a political solidarity over the recognition of Aboriginal land rights. These memoirs also expressed a commonality of Aboriginal experience that served to unite an increasingly frayed Aboriginal activist movement eroded by neoliberal policies.' (Publication abstract)
'The forced removal of Indigenous children has been a site of historical debate in Australia since the 1980s. This paper explores these debates and discusses the political nature of Australia’s national history, and the correlation between child removal and the legitimacy of the nation.' (Publication abstract)
'Published in 1987, the year before the bicentenary of Australian settlement, Sally Morgan's autobiographical bildungsroman, My Place, has achieved a rare success —it has become an iconic Australian text that circulates widely overseas. It has also been subject to pungent controversy in Australia, from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous critics. Its initial success stemmed in part from the timeliness of its publication. While plans were under way to commemorate two hundred years since the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney Harbour, under the theme of "one land, one people," Morgan challenged a celebratory version of Australian history with her personal narrative of the exclusion of Aborigines from national belonging. Her book narrates her search to confirm her Aboriginal heritage, which she comes to discover only in her late teens, and to find out why her mother and grandmother have denied it. Published during the lead-up to the history wars, a period of intense debate about the nation's treatment of Indigenous peoples during and since British colonization, My Place enabled many white readers to engage with its battler suburban version of Aboriginality and of Australia's colonial past. (Introduction)
'This article looks at the ideological ramifications of the narrative strategies that twentieth-century Aboriginal prose texts use to negotiate indigenous Australian identities. The central thesis is that after a period during which narratives by Aboriginal authors by necessity followed the form of the life histories to detail the actual experiences of oppression under the British settlers and past Australian governments, more recent indigenous Australian narratives are expressive of a regained confidence in playfully asserting Aboriginal identities. One can observe three developments in indigenous Australian narratives of the late twentieth century. First, the mode of fiction gradually increases its prevalence. Second, there has been a movement away from reports of what the colonisers did to indigenous Australians towards the foregrounding of more rebellious Aboriginal characters. Third, one can detect a significant increase in playfulness in narratives by indigenous Australian authors.' (Publication abstract)
'The stories told by Ruby Langford Ginibi in Don't Take Your Love to Town, Sally Morgan My Place, and Mudrooroo in Wild Cat Falling provide the starting point for discussions on some of the key events and issues that have affected Aboriginal people.
Part 1: 'Aboriginal Experience' looks at the practice of removing Aboriginal children from their families, and denial of Aboriginality and equal rights. Part 2: 'Reclaiming Identity' looks at the importance of the family and the land to Aboriginal people and their quest to reclaim their identity.'