Shoemaker's primary concern is to look at the beginning of 'black people's' writing in Australia since the 1960s and focus on the nascent literary canon emerging through Aboriginal writing. Shoemaker moves the readership through non-Aboriginal authors such as Katharine Susannah Prichard (1929) and Xavier Herbert (1938) in a chapter entitled 'Popular Perceptions of Unpopular People to Progress and Frustrated Expectations: The Era Since 1961'. Where Aboriginal writing begins, for Shoemaker's purposes, is an area of literary production he describes as 'fourth world literature'.
'This chapter surveys the major socio-political developments in Aboriginal affairs from 1961 to 1988. This was a period of rapid legislative change affecting many Indigenous Australians, and a time of escalating Aboriginal self-confi dence and achievements on many fronts.' (Publication abstract)