Review of Entangled Subjects: Indigenous/Australian Cross-Cultures of Talk, Text, and Modernity, by Michele Grossman

Entangled Subjects is a radical and comprehensive work of scholarship that is part of Rodopi's Cross Cultures: Readings in Post/Colonial Literatures and Cultures in English series. Grossman's research, in her own words, 'explores the cross-cultural politics, practices, management, and effects of "talk" and "text" in the sphere of contemporary collaborative Indigenous Australian writing' (1). Grossman enters into this problematised and ambivalent territory conscious of the ethical difficulties at play in cross-cultural exchange, rightly identifying the regressive re-enactment of colonial power dynamics in the translation, production and critique of Indigenous life-stories. As the titular 'entangled' suggests, Grossman challenges the hierarchical and often binary frameworks that elevate the researcher above their subject, editor above author, and literacy above orality. Her self-positioning within the fray of her field of research is indicative of Grossman's convincing argument for engaging with collaborative Indigenous Australian life-writing texts in a shared interface that, while uncertain, will prove to be fertile.

Grossman's thesis moves carefully through a network of case studies as well as engaging with critical and theoretical debate alongside personal reflection. This results in both a multifaceted critique of this field of research and, importantly, the enactment of an open-ended discursive methodology and way of thinking that performs the possibilities of navigating the tension between text, talk and modernity.

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Published 1 June 2014 in Volume 29 No. 1-2. Subjects: Aboriginal writers, Indigenous literature & writers.

Cite as: Quinlivan, Natalie. ‘Review of Entangled Subjects: Indigenous/Australian Cross-Cultures of Talk, Text, and Modernity, by Michele Grossman.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 29, no. 1-2, 2014. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.946e6b0dc5.