Sagar Dan Seminar 2012

'Australian Aboriginal Literature: Transnational Subjectivities in India'

Sagar Dan presenting his paper 

Abstract: In the early 1980s a gradual interest in Australian literature began to develop in India. But Australian literature was still included under the general rubric of Commonwealth Literature or, later, Postcolonial Literature. The central argument of this paper is to examine the nature of Indian subjectivities in coming to terms with Australian Aboriginal Literature. The central research questions that come up are: why did the Indian researchers and academics show more interest in Aboriginal writers than in "White" Australian authors? Does it show that the Indian mind still distanced itself from "Whiteness" as a colonial subject position? Or does it appropriate, as Toni Morrison points out in Playing in the Dark, a problematic of "whiteness studies"? Or does the Indian mind suffer from a critical angularity that misreads "intercultural knowledge"? In this paper I shall also try to elaborate Aboriginal Literature as a transnational subject in terms of the critical responses that it received in India. Aboriginal Literature has been re-discovered in India in terms of purely Indian subjectivities which may be largely different from Euro-Australian responses to Aboriginal Literature. I shall therefore try to explore the Indian subject position which has re-shaped and, possibly, re-constructed Aboriginal literature in India.

Bio: Sagar Dan is a Research Scholar at the Centre for Australian Studies at the University of Burdwan, West Bengal, India where he is completing a doctorate titled 'Contestations and Negotiations: A Study of Mudrooroo's Novels'  

Audio: Listen to Sagar's paper (right click and "save link as" to download).

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