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Witnessing Australian Stories: History, Testimony, and Memory in Contemporary Culture
     

Witnessing Australian Stories: History, Testimony, and Memory in Contemporary Culture

by Kelly Jean Butler
 

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This book is about how Australians have responded to stories about suffering and injustice in Australia, presented in a range of public media, including literature, history, films, and television. Those who have responded are both ordinary and prominent Australians—politicians, writers, and scholars. All have sought to come to terms with Australia’s

Overview

This book is about how Australians have responded to stories about suffering and injustice in Australia, presented in a range of public media, including literature, history, films, and television. Those who have responded are both ordinary and prominent Australians—politicians, writers, and scholars. All have sought to come to terms with Australia’s history by responding empathetically to stories of its marginalized citizens. Drawing upon international scholarship on collective memory, public history, testimony, and witnessing, this book represents a cultural history of contemporary Australia. It examines the forms of witnessing that dominated Australian public culture at the turn of the millennium. Since the late 1980s, witnessing has developed in Australia in response to the increasingly audible voices of indigenous peoples, migrants, and more recently, asylum seekers. As these voices became public, they posed a challenge not only to scholars and politicians, but also, most importantly, to ordinary citizens. When former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivered his historic apology to Australia’s indigenous peoples in February 2008, he performed an act of collective witnessing that affirmed the testimony and experiences of Aboriginal Australians. The phenomenon of witnessing became crucial, not only to the recognition and reparation of past injustices, but to efforts to create a more cosmopolitan Australia in the present. This is a vital addition to Transaction’s critically acclaimed Memory and Narrative series.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"In bringing together Indigenous and asylum seeker testimony, BUtler forges new ground in the area of Australian cultural history. Her work is exceptionally well researched and referenced; it is scholarly and intellectually challenging." —Rani Kerin, Australian Historical Studies “In this innovative and dazzling book, Kelly Jean Butler analyzes the power of personal testimony in contemporary culture. Through listening to the oral histories of marginalized groups, we become witnesses to the past suffering of others. Drawing on Australian case studies—from the national apology to Indigenous people, community movements for cross-racial reconciliation, or televised interviews with ordinary people—Butler astutely interrogates the politics of memory and history in daily life, and the potential through witnessing for a new ethics of citizenship.” —Kate Darian-Smith, professor of Australian studies, history, and cultural heritage, University of Melbourne

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781412851022
Publisher:
Transaction Publishers
Publication date:
06/30/2013
Series:
Memory and Narrative , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
301
File size:
539 KB

Meet the Author

Kelly Jean Butler is an honorary fellow at The Australian Centre, University of Melbourne. She is a cultural historian in the area of memory studies, whose work has appeared in various publications.  

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