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Reading: When ‘Area’ meets ‘Country’: Rethinking the Territory of Colonialism

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When ‘Area’ meets ‘Country’: Rethinking the Territory of Colonialism

Author:

Alison Ravenscroft

AU
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Abstract

Australian Aboriginal novelist Alexis Wright vividly conceives of colonialism as a virus that takes up its place in its host’s head. This is an image of invasion and territorialisation as intensely bodily and psychic. It calls attention, too, to those Aboriginal conceptions of country as itself a living and sensate entity: country has a body. It is animate, intelligent, and responsive, and humans are inextricably formed in relation to it.  Such a conception of Country (capitalised now to indicate that the word functions as a proper name) has enormous significance for the meanings that can be attached, in turn, to ideas of belonging and ownership. The impact can be felt in the antagonisms surrounding discourses of land, sovereignty and belonging. This essay considers the effects of this concept of Country in relation to two ceremonies that are practised in contemporary Australia: Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country.

How to Cite: Ravenscroft, A., 2020. When ‘Area’ meets ‘Country’: Rethinking the Territory of Colonialism. New Area Studies, 1(1), pp.165–179.
Published on 22 Oct 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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