Publication Details

Slater, L. (2013). Anxious settler belonging: actualising the potential for making resilient postcolonial subjects. M/C Journal, 16 (5), 1-7.

Link to publisher version (URL)

MC Journal - QUT


When I arrived in Aurukun, west Cape York, it was the heat that struck me first, knocking city pace from my body, replacing it with a languor familiar to my childhood, although hea more northern. Fieldwork brings with it its own delights and anxieties. It is where I feel competent and incompetent, where I am most indebted and thankful for the generosity kindness of strangers. I love the way “no-where” places quickly become somewhere and some to me. Then there are the bodily visitations: a much younger self haunts my body. At time adult self abandons me, leaving me nothing but an awkward adolescent: clumsy, sweaty, too m body, too white, too urban, too disconnected or unable to interpret the social rules. My body in that this is not my home, but home for Wik and Wik Way people. Flailing about unmoored from socio-cultural system that I take for granted, and take comfort from – and I draw sustena Anxiety circles, closes in on me, who grows distant and unsure, fragmented. Misusing Deborah Rose, I’m tempted to say I’m separated from my nourishing terrain. Indeed it can feel like nation (not the country) slipped out from under my feet.