Image courtesy of publisher's website.
y Reading the Country : Introduction to Nomadology anthology   prose   Indigenous story  
Issue Details: First known date: 1984... 1984 Reading the Country : Introduction to Nomadology
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Reading the Country is a journey into Roebuck Plains, near Broome in Australia's far north-west; it is an exploration of the meaning of place, an attempt to chart the relationships between people and those specific places in which they must find a place to live. It is a journey through landscape into language and ideas, and personal and cultural location.' (Source: Publisher's Blurb, 1996 Revised Edition)




  • Dedication: To the nomads of Broome always there and always on the move

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Fremantle, Fremantle area, South West Perth, Perth, Western Australia,: Fremantle Press , 1984 .
      Extent: 251p.
      Description: illus. (some col.), maps, ports.
      ISBN: 0909144885
    • Prahran, South Yarra - Glen Iris area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,: Re.Press , 2014 .
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 282p.
      • Published December 2014
      ISBN: 9780992373429

Works about this Work

A Diplomat for the History Wars Stephen Muecke , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , April no. 28 2015;
'In this experimental reflection on the ‘history wars’ associated with Keith Windschuttle’s writings, the author recruits a storyteller, an ex-diplomat, whose yarning style subtly contests the ‘graphocentrism’ of Windschuttle’s faith in the truth of the written document. For the latter, facts are both enshrined in print, yet forever ‘out there’ in the world innocently waiting to be gathered. Against this, the essay argues that facts are indeed ‘fabricated’– in an appropriation of Windschuttle’s critique of black arm-band historians. Not only fabricated, but well-fabricated1 according to the best protocols and methods of historical research. If historical facts are thus constructed, they must also be institutionally supported so that they can continue to exist, and that too is an on-going negotiation in which diplomacy must also play a part. The negotiation is not between the veracity of facts and the distortions of ideology; peace will never be achieved along that pathway. The real war is between the most cherished values that support the manufacture of the facts that serve the parties involved. The skilled diplomat intervenes to listen to what it is they hold most dear, and then negotiates what they might relinquish to achieve a workable peace.' (Publication abstract)
Thirty Years On : Reading the Country and Indigenous Homeliness Ken Gelder , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Humanities Review , May no. 58 2015;
'The recent reprinting by re.press of Stephen Muecke, Krim Benterrak and Paddy Roe’s Reading the Country: Introduction to Nomadology (1984) is a useful reminder, thirty years on, of just how contemporary this remarkable book still is. Although it isn’t ‘anthropological’ (and speaks in fact about the ‘death of anthropology’, a discipline from which it distances itself), Reading the Country nevertheless embarks on a journey with which anthropologists would be only too familiar: with Muecke getting into the car, driving out to a remote community in north-west Western Australia to encounter a Moroccan artist and a senior Aboriginal man, Paddy Roe, and talking and listening, transcribing, and then reflecting on what has been transcribed. The book is also an expression of male companionship—if we think of the meaning of ‘companion’, with bread—where three men (and, sometimes, others) come to know each other by sitting down together, and making spaces for each other, although in very different ways, with very different outcomes: stories and narratives, paintings, and various intellectual meditations on all this that drew extensively and specifically on Deleuze and Guattari’s use of the term nomadology.' ( Author's introduction)
Taking Seriously Aboriginal Knowledge as Philosophy Dominic Amerena , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , October 2014;

— Review of Reading the Country : Introduction to Nomadology Stephen Muecke 1984 anthology prose
y Speaking the Earth's Languages : A Theory for Australian-Chilean Postcolonial Poetics Stuart Cooke , New York (City) Amsterdam : Rodopi , 2013 6178076 2013 single work criticism

Speaking the Earth’s Languages brings together for the first time critical discussions of postcolonial poetics from Australia and Chile. The book crosses multiple languages, landscapes, and disciplines, and draws on a wide range of both oral and written poetries, in order to make strong claims about the importance of ‘a nomad poetics’ – not only for understanding Aboriginal or Mapuche writing practices but, more widely, for the problems confronting contemporary literature and politics in colonized landscapes.

The book begins by critiquing canonical examples of non-indigenous postcolonial poetics. Incisive re-readings of two icons of Australian and Chilean poetry, Judith Wright (1915–2000) and Pablo Neruda (1904–1973), provide rich insights into non-indigenous responses to colonization in the wake of modernity. The second half of the book establishes compositional links between Aboriginal and Mapuche poetics, and between such oral and written poetics more generally.

The book’s final part develops an ‘emerging synthesis’ of contemporary Aboriginal and Mapuche poetics, with reference to the work of two of the most important avant-garde Aboriginal and Mapuche poets of recent times, Lionel Fogarty (1958–) and Paulo Huirimilla (1973–).

Speaking the Earth’s Languages uses these fascinating links between Aboriginal and Mapuche poetics as the basis of a deliberately nomadic, open-ended theory for an Australian–Chilean postcolonial poetics. 'The central argument of this book,' the author writes, 'is that a nomadic poetics is essential for a genuinely postcolonial form of habitation, or a habitation of colonized landscapes that doesn’t continue to replicate colonialist ideologies involving indigenous dispossession and environmental exploitation.' [from the publisher's website]

The Itinerant Text : Walking between the Lines with Stephen Muecke and Mark Minchinton Michèle Grossman , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journeying and Journalling : Creative and Critical Meditations on Travel Writing 2010; (p. 78-90)
Gentle Look at the `Politics of Space' Dianne Johnson , 1985 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 4 May 1985; (p. 44)

— Review of Reading the Country : Introduction to Nomadology Stephen Muecke 1984 anthology prose
Untitled Niall Lucy , 1986 single work review
— Appears in: Westerly , March vol. 31 no. 1 1986; (p. 87-91)

— Review of Reading the Country : Introduction to Nomadology Stephen Muecke 1984 anthology prose
Taking Seriously Aboriginal Knowledge as Philosophy Dominic Amerena , 2014 single work review
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , October 2014;

— Review of Reading the Country : Introduction to Nomadology Stephen Muecke 1984 anthology prose
A Poetics of Failure Is No Bad Thing : Stephen Muecke and Margaret Somerville's White Writing Fiona Probyn , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , no. 75 2002; (p. 17-26, notes 176-178)
'Why, White Man, Why?' : White Australia as the Addressee of Apostrophe in Contemporary Aboriginal Writing Russell West-Pavlov , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Zeitschrift fur Anglistik und Amerikanistik , vol. 50 no. 2 2002; (p. 166-178) Imaginary Antipodes : Essays on Contemporary Australian Literature and Culture 2011; (p. 23-36)
'Contemporary Australian indigenous literature is characterised by a remarkably prevalent use of apostrophic address directed at the white reader. This mode of direct address in black literary texts draws attention to the political dynamics moulding reader-writer relations in contemporary Australia. The article examines numerous examples of this direct mode of address in prose, poetry and drama, and argues that this direct mode of address is a central element in the message of black writers. The use of apostrophe implies the active 'positioning' of the white reader on the part of the indigenous speaker; only by virtue of this positioning is the reading process made possible. The direct mode of address in these texts thus demands that the reader take up a stance characterised by a readiness to listen attentively to black literary voices.' (Author's abstract)
Intimate Strangers : Contemporary Australian Travel Writing, the Semiotics of Empathy, and the Therapeutics of Race Robert Clarke , 2004 single work criticism
— Appears in: Crossings : Bulletin of the International Australian Studies Association , vol. 9 no. 3 2004; Journal of Australian Studies , no. 85 2005; (p. 69-81, notes 208-209)
'Increasingly, domestic white Australian travel narratives mobilise encounters with Aboriginality as contexts for political and ethical critiques of white hegemony that, in turn, reflect different manifestations of sympathetic white liberal discourses of reconciliation.... This paper focuses on how these narratives represent performances of a white Australian postcolonial sensibility towards Aboriginality that defines itself through a semiotics of empathy ... for Aboriginality, and how the co-ordinates of this semiotics shifted over the 1990s in response to movements in the Australian public sphere vis-à-vis the politics and ethics of reconciliation.' (Introduction)
Making It Move : The Aboriginal in the Whitefella's Artifact Tim Youngs , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Travel Writing, Form, and Empire : The Poetics and Politics of Mobility 2009; (p. 148-166)
'In 1984, artist Krim Benterrak, a Moroccan Berber resident in Australia since 1977, white Australian academic Stephen Muecke, and Aboriginal Australian Paddy Roe published Reading the Country: Introduction to Nomadology, (q.v.) dedicating the volume 'To the/nomads of Broome, always there and/always on the move'. Movement sets the course of the book. Hearing Aborigine Paddy Roe's expression for the production of Aboriginal culture, 'We must make these things move', Muecke 'reflect[s] on the potentially static nature of our project: the production of a whiteman's artefact, a book' and askes himself, 'How could I make this thing move?' (p. 148)
Kairos for a Wounded Country Jennifer Rutherford , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Halfway House : The Poetics of Australian Spaces 2010; (p. 1-11)
Last amended 28 Apr 2015 12:31:29
  • Roebuck Plains, Kimberley area, North Western Australia, Western Australia,
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