Wednesday, 7 March 2012


I'm still refusing to engage directly with the Michael Laws 'opinion' piece in the Sunday Star Times last week. Yes, I will deal with it tomorrow, when I'm finishing off a talk I'm giving at another university on Thursday, at which I've decided to talk about it a little...

But for today...

I read a book, Removable Type: a History of the Book in Indian Country, then went to a discussion group with five other Indig Lit Studies academics, and - as we ate pizza and cupcakes, and drank yummy drinks - we discussed the it.

It's a great book: full to the brim of detail and research and arguments... It looks at the ways Indigenous people have engaged with books in the US, from early days of first contacts, first presses, first translations, first readers, first writers, first copies, until 1880. Each line of the book affirms that Indigenous people have engaged with reading and writing for our own purposes, and across the book an impressive range of examples are provided to back up this claim...

It's a book about books, but it also quietly undermines the assumptions that some people make about Indigenous people and books... as we talked about the book, we all started to bring in other examples and contexts we know about... we added some of our own contributions to the range of topics the book raised, and talked about how the book itself had produced the space for us to have these discussions.

It's a book about books, but also a book about people.

People: Writing. Printing. Communicating. Publishing. Participating. Reading. Being sovereign. Being themselves. Being ourselves.

Being, you know, People. (Not feral. No, not feral.)

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