Joanne Tompkins


Paul Carter's observation in The Road to Botany Bay, regarding Australia's past, that 'the gaze of most historians has been ... partial',1 is now fairly commonplace. Perhaps not so commonplace is his comment, 'We have no grounds for presuming that Aboriginal history can be treated as a subset of white history, as a history within a history' (p. 325). Now that black versions of history are being told and written down, white critics must learn how to witness and read and listen to these versions, since they must be approached from a different perspective than white texts which generally have as their cornerstone 'official' History. One method that has already been attempted is applying western critical theory to indigenous texts in the same way as one would apply it to a text written by an AngloSaxon, middle-class male. Such a scheme, it is being discovered, is not the answer because it creates a new field of coloni7..ation. This paper looks at the ways one such critical method, the binary opposition, does not fit Aboriginal drama, in particular Jack Davis's plays.



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