Publication Details

Slater, L. 2007, 'Intimate Australia: body/landscape journals & the paradox of belonging', Cultural Studies Review, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 150-169.


Early in Body/Landscape Journals Margaret Somerville poses the question '[h]ow do I represent myself and the landscape?'. Throughout the heterogeneous textual topography that is Body/Landscape Journals she attempts to represent, indeed perform, her embodied relationship to place. As a historian, Somerville has collaborated with Aboriginal women to record their oral histories. These collaborative and intimate working processes have seemingly realigned Somerville's desires and writing practices toward Aboriginality. Body/Landscape Journals is an exploration and working through of her desire to write an embodied sense of belonging in Australia. Somerville suggests, citing Elizabeth Ferrier, that 'colonisation is primarily a spatial conquest and postcolonial transformations require new ways of understanding and representing ourselves in space'. She advocates that to generate postcolonial cultures it is necessary to transform the representational terrain, which in turn might reconfigure subjectivity. Yet the genesis for Body/Landscape Journals is Somerville's discovery that she cannot bring her alternative body/landscape connections into representation.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Cultural Studies Review