Embodied archives

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Abstract

In a profound meditation on the complex genre of autobiography, W.E.B. Du Bois, toward the end of his extraordinary life, wrote: “What I think of myself, now and in the past, furnishes no certain documents proving what I really am. Mostly my life today is a mass of memories with vast omissions, matters which are forgotten accidentally or by deep design” (cited in Sundquist 1996: 3). Situated in the context of Du Bois’ haunting meditation on loss, memory gaps and historical omissions, I want to ask the following question: What if some of these vast omissions, forgotten accidentally or because of the violent historicidal forces of assimilation, were recuperable through the staging of an archaeology of one’s body, through the reflexive examination of the self as repository of so many dense cultural sedimentations and as archive of accumulated histories and practices? The question, then, that I want to pose in the course of this paper is: In what ways may our lived bodies be seen as living, corporeal archives, repositories of historical practices and inventories of almost invisible traces?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature
Volume11
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2011. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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