Redressing the silence: racism, trauma, and Aboriginal women's life writing

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Since the 1970s, women’s narratives have dominated Indigenous memoir in Australia. These stories recount not only the personal experiences of the
authors, but aim to address colonial trauma and injustice; preserve collective memory, and/or work towards a retrieval and re-inscription of identity. More specifically, their aim is “truth telling” to bridge the silences that exist around the lives of First Nations people and bring effaced, traumatic experiences to national attention. This paper examines three works of memoir: Sally Morgan’s My Place (1988), Doris Pilkington’s Follow the RabbitProof Fence (1996) and Anita Heiss’s Am I Black Enough For You? (2012) with the aim of exploring the way such literature operates as an ethical response to cultural dispossession and cultural violence. In particular, it examines the use of memoir in the process of reculturation and identity formation to counteract the effects colonial dispossession and trauma.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMediating memory
Subtitle of host publicationtracing the limits of memoir
EditorsBunty Avieson, Fiona Giles, Sue Joseph
Place of PublicationNew York ; London
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781315107349
ISBN (Print)9781138092723
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Memoir
  • Life Writing
  • Trauma, history, philosophy, politics, psychoanalysis
  • Indigenous Australians
  • Women--Australia--History--Sources


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