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“Need I Repeat?: Settler colonial biopolitics and postcolonial iterability in Kim Scott’s Benang,”

Chapter


Abstract


  • Settler Australia is increasingly conscious of the need to redress the

    material consequences of its colonial history and to symbolically commemorate

    related injustices. The dialectic between symbolic and material

    politics may appear to render either as incommensurate poles.

    Nonetheless, in the Australian context, this apparent incommensurability

    raises the specters of the long-term derision of symbolism by former

    Prime Minister John Howard. To raise such questions as the materiality

    of redress and of its necessary relation to the symbolism of mourning

    and reconciliation implies questioning the very language of raising in

    the context of the policy of assimilation. In the above epigraph, Nyoongar

    novelist Kim Scott begins to do just that. Scott's text suggests that

    the covert regulatory function underlying the "progressive thoughts" of

    Australia's settler colonial regime is intrinsically linked to its "animal

    husbandry" enfolding of racial difference into the biopolitics of physical

    anthropology. The meaning ascribed to repetition raises the stakes for

    the settler colonial nation's self-assertion as an unquestionably postcolonial

    multicultural liberalism. This is especially so since, as Scott makes

    clear, direct medical and sexual regulation of indigenous people also

    underlay the "progressive" policy of assimilation.

Publication Date


  • 2010

Citation


  • Griffiths, M. R. (2010). “Need I Repeat?: Settler colonial biopolitics and postcolonial iterability in Kim Scott’s Benang,”. In N. O'Reilly (Eds.), Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature (pp. 157-183). Amherst, N.Y.: Cambria Press.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1228

Book Title


  • Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature

Start Page


  • 157

End Page


  • 183

Abstract


  • Settler Australia is increasingly conscious of the need to redress the

    material consequences of its colonial history and to symbolically commemorate

    related injustices. The dialectic between symbolic and material

    politics may appear to render either as incommensurate poles.

    Nonetheless, in the Australian context, this apparent incommensurability

    raises the specters of the long-term derision of symbolism by former

    Prime Minister John Howard. To raise such questions as the materiality

    of redress and of its necessary relation to the symbolism of mourning

    and reconciliation implies questioning the very language of raising in

    the context of the policy of assimilation. In the above epigraph, Nyoongar

    novelist Kim Scott begins to do just that. Scott's text suggests that

    the covert regulatory function underlying the "progressive thoughts" of

    Australia's settler colonial regime is intrinsically linked to its "animal

    husbandry" enfolding of racial difference into the biopolitics of physical

    anthropology. The meaning ascribed to repetition raises the stakes for

    the settler colonial nation's self-assertion as an unquestionably postcolonial

    multicultural liberalism. This is especially so since, as Scott makes

    clear, direct medical and sexual regulation of indigenous people also

    underlay the "progressive" policy of assimilation.

Publication Date


  • 2010

Citation


  • Griffiths, M. R. (2010). “Need I Repeat?: Settler colonial biopolitics and postcolonial iterability in Kim Scott’s Benang,”. In N. O'Reilly (Eds.), Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature (pp. 157-183). Amherst, N.Y.: Cambria Press.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/1228

Book Title


  • Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature

Start Page


  • 157

End Page


  • 183