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Spaces of hybridity : creating a sense of belonging through spatial awareness

Hawkes, Lesley (2010) Spaces of hybridity : creating a sense of belonging through spatial awareness. In Postcolonial Issues in Australian Literature. Cambria Press, New York & London.

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Abstract

When the colonisers first came to Australia there was an urgent desire to map, name and settle. This desire, in part, stemmed from a fear of the unknown. Once these tasks were completed it was thought that a sense of identity and belonging would automatically come. In Anglo-Australian geography the map of Australia was always perceived in relationship to the larger map of Europe and Britain. The quicker Australia could be mapped the quicker its connection with the ‘civilised’ world could be established. Official maps could be taken up in official history books and a detailed monumental history could begin. Australians would feel secure in where they were placed in the world. However, this was not the case and anxieties about identity and belonging remained.

One of the biggest hurdles was the fear of the open spaces and not knowing how to move across the land. Attempts to transpose colonisers’ use of space onto the Australian landscape did not work and led to confusion. Using authors who are often perceived as writers of national fictions (Henry Lawson, Barbara Baynton, Patrick White, David Malouf and Peter Carey) I will reveal how writing about space becomes a way to create a sense of belonging. It is through spatial knowledge and its application that we begin to gain a sense of closeness and identity. I will also look at how one of the greatest fears for the colonisers was the Aboriginal spatial command of the country. Aborigines already had a strongly developed awareness of spatial belonging and their stories reveal this authority (seen in the work of Lorna Little, Mick McLean) Colonisers attempted to discredit this knowledge but the stories and the land continue to recognise its legitimacy. From its beginning Australian spaces have been spaces of hybridity and the more the colonisers attempted to force predetermined structures onto these spaces the more hybrid they became.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 34138
Item Type: Book Chapter
Keywords: Australian, Literature, Postcolonial, Space, belonging
ISBN: 9781604977110
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LANGUAGES COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE (200000) > LITERARY STUDIES (200500)
Divisions: Current > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Deposited On: 17 Aug 2010 10:01
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 00:33

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