Bennelong's gambit: The Aboriginal invention of modernism



Publication Details

McLean, I. A. "Bennelong's gambit: The Aboriginal invention of modernism." Imagined Australia: Reflections Around the Reciprocal Construction of Identity Between Australia and Europe. Ed.R. Summo-O'Connell. Bern: Peter Lang, 2009, 187-200.


Modernism is generally considered an arcane art movement associated with a small coterie of white bohemian middle-class renegades based in Paris and a few other canonical centres of modernity. The last place critics have gone looking for either modernity or modernism is on the colonial frontier and especially the Aboriginal frontier. This attitude is beginning to change, and reflects the post colonial recognition of non-European modernities.

From Terra Nullius to Land of Opportunities and Last Frontier, the European dream has constructed and deconstructed Australia to feed its imagination of new societies. At the same time Australia has over the last two centuries forged and re-invented its own liaisons with Europe arguably to carve out its identity. From the arts to social sciences, to society itself, a complex dynamic has grown between the two continents in ways that invite study and discussion. A transnational research group has begun its collective investigation project of which this first volume is the outcome. The book is a substantial multidisciplinary collection of current research and offers critical perspectives on culture, literature and history around themes at the heart of the Imagined Australia project. The essays instigate reflection, discovery and discussion of how reciprocal imagining between Australia and Europe has articulated itself and ways and dimensions in which a relationship between communities, imagined and not, has unfolded.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Peter Lang - International Publishing

Please refer to publisher version or contact your library.