Susan Sheridan


The bicentenary of invasion and settlement, 1988, challenges nonAboriginal Australians as never before to confront and analyse the racism that pervades hegemonic cultural discourses and practices. Looking back to the noisy decades around the turn of the twentieth century, the crucial formative period of modern Australian cultural nationalism, one is struck by the silence of and about Aboriginal people. White Australians’ exclusion of Aboriginals has been, I would argue, crucial to our self-constitution as ‘Australian’ - an identity, a unity, whose meaning derives from its discursive displacement of the ‘other’ race, just as its power as a nation state derives from the appropriation of Aboriginal land.1 In that respect, Australian culture is still colonial.



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