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Shino Konishi

Who’s your mob?

by Shino Konishi, Julie Andrews, Odette Best, Brenda L. Croft, Steve Kinnane, Greg Lehman, and Uncle John Whop
October 2023, no. 458

In his 1968 Boyer Lectures, After the Dreaming, anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner lamented that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples had been omitted from narratives of the nation’s past. Contending that this omission was ‘a structural matter’, he likened Australian history to ‘a view from a window which has been carefully placed to exclude a whole quadrant of the landscape’. He proposed that the kinds of stories which could bring Indigenous history into view for Australian readers would focus on the lives of individuals.

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Islands, as recent histories of immigration detention and quarantine show, offer unique things to human societies. Rimmed by a watery bulwark, they have more surveyable borders than do mainlands. Their status as sublands suggest that they exist outside the conventions and temporal dimensions of larger, mainland societies. What happens on an island stays on an island; at least, island prison warders and sojourners imagined this to be the case. 

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