White historicide and the returns of the souths of the south

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Abstract

To what degree is whiteness studies in Australia still characterised by an Anglocentricity that fails to situate whiteness within larger, transnational relations of racialised power? This essay is an attempt to disrupt Anglocentric conceptualisations of whiteness within the context of the Australian nation by focusing on particular non-Anglo Australian diasporic histories and racialised genealogies. In transposing my focus on whiteness to locations outside the nation that are, for diasporic subjects, simultaneously positioned within the nation (as embodied histories that continue to inflect a subject's everyday practices), I want to outline other histories affiliated with whiteness that inscribe a specific configuration of Australia's diasporic subjects, Calabrese Australians, that would otherwise remain invisible within dominant Anglocentric discussions of whiteness. I would argue that within Anglocentric discussions of whiteness, whiteness is presented as though it impacts for the first time on the bodies and subjectivities of diasporic subjects only once they enter the Australian nation. As such, non-Anglo diasporic subjects are positioned in terms of ahistorical tabula rasa, doubly white-washed subjects devoid of prior histories of whiteness and racialised power. As Suvendrini Perera and I argue in our critique of the continuing operations of Anglocentric whiteness in Australia, "Migrants are not a singular group, and do not come to Australia as blank slates, but rather bring with them their own histories, experiences and ideologies of ethnic and racial differences" (1998: 13).
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalAustralian humanities review
Volume42
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Keywords

  • whiteness
  • history
  • colonialism
  • Australia
  • southern Italy

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