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y separately published work icon 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

    • Prahran, South Yarra - Glen Iris area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,: Re.Press , 2014 .
      image of person or book cover 3766518566188259974.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 282p.
      • Published December 2014
      ISBN: 9780992373429

Works about this Work

y separately published work icon Reading the Country : 30 Years On Philip Morrissey (editor), Chris Healy (editor), Broadway : UTS Press , 2019 14554808 2019 anthology criticism

'Steeped in story-telling and endlessly curious, Reading the Country: An Introduction to Nomadology (1984) was the product of Paddy Roe, Stephen Muecke and Krim Benterrak, experimenting with what it might be like to think together about country. In the process a senior traditional owner, a cultural theorist and a painter produced a text unlike any other. Reading the Country: 30 Years On is a celebration of one of the great twentieth-century books of intercultural dialogue. Recalling a spirit of intellectual risk and respect, in this collection, Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, poets, writers and publishers both acknowledge the past and look, with hope, to future transformations of culture and country.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Shame and Contemporary Australian Poetics Evelyn Araluen , 2017 single work essay
— Appears in: Rabbit , no. 21 2017; (p. 117-127)

'The literariness of Aboriginal literatures has long been subject to, and the subject of, critical ambiguity. The qualifiers of ‘ language ’ and ‘ in English ’ have sublimated Aboriginal cultural and creative expression beneath the respective disciplines and problematics of anthropology and poetics. Although there have been several sincere and enriching collaborations between settler and Aboriginal peoples to bridge such divides, such as Paddy Roe, Stephen Muecke, and Krim Benterrak’s Reading the Country (1984), the condition of Australian critical discourses concerning Aboriginal literatures in, around, and in defiance of, ‘ language, ’ remains fraught territory. Recent works from female Murri, Goorie, and Koorie poets Ellen Van Neerven, Alison Whittaker, and Lorna Munro are expressions of agency and disobedience at the forefront of these exchanges.' (Introduction)

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 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)
An Essay on the Works of Western Desert Women Artists and Aboriginal Culture Tristen Harwood , 2015 single work essay
— Appears in: NEW : Emerging Scholars in Australian Indigenous Studies , vol. 1 no. 1 2015;

'The works of Western Desert women artists, such as Kathleen Petyarre, confront the viewer with the embodied reality of Aboriginal culture. These works are intercultural expressions of Aboriginal ways of being, imprinted within the frame of the canvas. This essay explores the implications of Kathleen Petyarre’s paintings for Settler Australians, and the potential for such works to create a greater appreciation of Country. I suggest that the acrylic paintings performed by Western Desert women artists can be understood as both expressions of the Dreaming and as evocations of sensibilities to be experienced and felt by Settler viewers. With reference to Jennifer Biddle’s Breasts, Bodies, Canvas: Central Desert Art as Experience (2007), I maintain that the work of Western Desert women artists departs from the dominant modes of representing Country, Dreaming narratives and Ancestors – instead articulating bodily experiences and expressions particular to Aboriginal women’s ways of being in and knowing the world.' (Introduction)

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)

— Appears in: 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;

— Appears in: 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 12 Oct 2018 12:06:21
  • Roebuck Plains, Kimberley area, North Western Australia, Western Australia,
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