Issue Details: First known date: 2001... 2001 James Cowan and the White Quest for Black Self
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'A literary genre is emerging in which Aborigines are cast as the spiritual saviours of the supposedly alienated Western self. One of the most prolific authors writing in this field is the Australian, James Cowan. Through a series of books Cowan moves further and further into the Aboriginal metaphysical realm until at last, he would have his readers believe, he actually enters the Dreaming and becomes an intrinsic part of it. In this article I critically examine these books, focusing on Cowan's construction of Aborigines and the sorts of claims he makes. I also consider some possible consequences of his particular portrayal of Aborigines. Despite his prominence in this field, and publishers' claims that he is 'an internationally respected authority on Australian Aborigines and other indigenous peoples', his work so far has received little critical analysis.' (Publication Abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y Australian Aboriginal Studies no. 1 2001 Z897785 2001 periodical issue

    'This issue of the journal maintains the diversity of articles published in Australian Aboriginal Studies: and concomitantly reveals the depth and breadth of Indigenous Studies in Australia. We have an article by Mitchell Rolls which discusses the literary work of James Cowan, critically examining his construction of Aborigines and the claims he makes about the Aboriginal metaphysical realm in light of a literary genre that is emerging in which Aborigines are cast as saviours of the supposedly alienated Western self.' (Editorial Introduction)

    2001
    pg. 1-20

Works about this Work

The Transnational Fantasy : The Case of James Cowan Peter Matthews , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 26 no. 1 2012; (p. 67-73)
'Recent criticism has seen the rise of an approach to literature that views texts as products of 'transnationalism,' a move that arises from a growing sense that, in a global age, authors should not be bounded by the traditional limits of national culture. In her book Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation (2006), for instance, Rebecca Walkowitz looks at how this trend has evolved in world Anglophone literature, extending from canonical writers like Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf to such contemporary authors as Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, and W.G. Sebald. In the field of Australian literature, the question of transnationalism is often linked to issues of postcolonialism, as reflected in recent critical works like Graham Huggan's Australian Literature: Postcolonialism, Racism, Transnationalism (2007) and Nathanael O'Reilly's edited collection Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature (2010), both of which examine how Australian literature and culture have metamorphosed in the new global context. While there is little doubt that world literature has been affected in important ways by this broadening of literary stage, there seems to be a widespread conflation between two similar but different terms: the transnational and transcultural. For while it is true that the culture of many countries arises from a cosmopolitan and diverse assortment of influences, this loosening of cultural boundaries between nations is far from being simultaneous with the decline of the state.' (Author's introduction)
The Transnational Fantasy : The Case of James Cowan Peter Matthews , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 26 no. 1 2012; (p. 67-73)
'Recent criticism has seen the rise of an approach to literature that views texts as products of 'transnationalism,' a move that arises from a growing sense that, in a global age, authors should not be bounded by the traditional limits of national culture. In her book Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation (2006), for instance, Rebecca Walkowitz looks at how this trend has evolved in world Anglophone literature, extending from canonical writers like Joseph Conrad, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf to such contemporary authors as Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, and W.G. Sebald. In the field of Australian literature, the question of transnationalism is often linked to issues of postcolonialism, as reflected in recent critical works like Graham Huggan's Australian Literature: Postcolonialism, Racism, Transnationalism (2007) and Nathanael O'Reilly's edited collection Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature (2010), both of which examine how Australian literature and culture have metamorphosed in the new global context. While there is little doubt that world literature has been affected in important ways by this broadening of literary stage, there seems to be a widespread conflation between two similar but different terms: the transnational and transcultural. For while it is true that the culture of many countries arises from a cosmopolitan and diverse assortment of influences, this loosening of cultural boundaries between nations is far from being simultaneous with the decline of the state.' (Author's introduction)
Last amended 4 Oct 2017 12:42:18
1-20 James Cowan and the White Quest for Black SelfAustLit Australian Aboriginal Studies
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