Postcolonial bildungsroman: indigenous subjects and identity-formation

Bradford, Clare 2007, Postcolonial bildungsroman: indigenous subjects and identity-formation, Waiguo wenxue yanjiu, vol. 29, no. 6, pp. 10-18.

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Title Postcolonial bildungsroman: indigenous subjects and identity-formation
Author(s) Bradford, ClareORCID iD for Bradford, Clare
Journal name Waiguo wenxue yanjiu
Volume number 29
Issue number 6
Start page 10
End page 18
Publisher Huazhong Shifan Daxue
Place of publication China
Publication date 2007-12
ISSN 1003-7519
Summary In the bildungsroman as it has conventionally been defined, individuals attain self-actualisation through a series of experiences whereby they accommodate their individuality to a social order.  Protagonists negotiate their transition from childhood to young-adulthood by way of educative experiences, trials of various kinds, and a search for identity, which is generally formulated as a fixed or stable essence which they must discover or accept.  In this paper I focus on two examples of bildungsroman by Indigenous Canadian and Australian authors: Jeannette Armstrong’s Slash (1985),and Richard J. Frankland’s Digger J. Jones (2007).  Both novels feature male protagonists whose stories play out against the background of Indigenous activism in the 1960s.  As they track the identity-formation of their protagonists, the two novels deconstruct simple or fixed ideas of national identity by pointing to the complex cross-cultural relationships which have characterised settler societies.  At the same time,these novels dramatise the power of socialising practices which promote white superiority and position Indigenous peoples as supplicants or victims.  Both novels draw on what Paul Havemann terms the "new politics of identity and cultural recognition" which characterise contemporary Indigenous activism, re-reading events and settings of the 1960s in the light of discourses of cultural recognition and self-determination.
Language chi
Indigenous content on
Field of Research 200599 Literary Studies not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
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Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
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