Boundary Writing: An Exploration of Race, Culture, And Gender Binaries in Contemporary Australia

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Lynette Russell
University of Hawaii Press, 2006 - Social Science - 214 pages

Have globalization and the emergence of virtual cultures reduced cultural diversity? Will the world become homogenized or Americanized? Boundary Writing sets out to demonstrate that this oversimplification denies the reality that today there is greater space for cultural diversity than ever before. It explores the desire to categorize individuals and collectivities into racial, ethnic, gender, and sexuality categories (black and white, men and women, gay and straight), which is a feature of most Western societies. More specifically, it analyzes the boundaries and edges of these categories and concepts.

Across nine chapters, contributors reveal that such binaries are often too restrictive. Through a series of case studies they consider how these various concepts overlap, coincide, and at times conflict.They investigate the tension between these classifications that in turn produce individual speaking positions. Many people indigenous, native, Anglo-settler, recent migrants of diverse ethnic backgrounds, gay, transgender, queer occupy an in between position that is strategically shifting with the social, political, and economic circumstances of the individual. In Boundary Writing, the reader will journey through various complex permutations of identity and in particular the ways in which indigeneity, race, sex, and gender interact and even counter-act one another.

Contributors: Erez Cohen, Aaron Corn, Bruno David, Neparrna Gumbula, Michele Grossman, Myfanwy McDonald, Clive Moore, Stephen Pritchard, Liz Reed, Lynette Russell.


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Page 3 - Such an intervention quite properly challenges our sense of the historical identity of culture as a homogenizing, unifying force, authenticated by the originary Past, kept alive in the national tradition of the People.
Page 3 - It is only when we understand that all cultural statements and systems are constructed in this contradictory and ambivalent space of enunciation, that we begin to understand why hierarchical claims to the inherent originality or 'purity' of cultures are untenable, even before we resort to empirical historical instances that demonstrate their hybridity.

About the author (2006)

Lynette Russell holds the Chair in Australian Indigenous Studies at Monash University and is director of the Centre of Australian Indigenous Studies.

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