The Dark Side of the Dreaming: Aboriginality and Australian Culture


There is clearly a new upsurge of comment on and interest in Aboriginal Australian culture, an interest manifested by the reissue of a number of classic texts and the publication of a number of significant new contributions to the field. The publication of Adam Shoemaker's account Black Words, White Paper: Aboriginal Literature 1929-1988, the reissue of J.J. Healy's classic study Literature and the Aborigine in Australia, the publication in 1990 of Mudrooroo Narogin Nyoongah's Writing From the Fringe: A Study of Modern Aboriginal Literature and most recently in 1991 of Bob Hodge and Vijay Mishra's study The Dark Side of the Dream: Australian Literature and the Postcolonial Mind are the most significant indications of the renewed attention being paid to black culture in Australia and its effects on the society as a whole from the beginnings of white settlement to the present time. This last book by Hodge and Mishra is the most sophisticated attempt to date to theorise the relationship between dominant white Australian cultural modes and those of Australian Aboriginal cultures. It is also the most significant attempt to date to relate this to the shift within Australian Studies as a whole from a nationalist model towards a comparative, post-colonial model. The conjunction of these two movements in the construction of our representation of Australia is likely to be of increasing significance in the nineties.

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Published 1 October 1992 in Volume 15 No. 4. Subjects: Aboriginal culture, Aboriginal dispossession, Aboriginal law, Aboriginal literature, Aboriginal-White relations, Australian culture, Australian identity.

Cite as: Griffiths, Gareth. ‘The Dark Side of the Dreaming: Aboriginality and Australian Culture.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 15, no. 4, 1992, doi: 10.20314/als.a42cf1caa3.