Locating settler colonialism in the myths of Burke and Wills – Aboriginal and Islamic people’s involvement in reimagining successful exploration of inland Australia

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Abstract

Within Australian settler colonial history, a process of ‘space-off’ in exploration cultural representations has created erasure and denial of Aboriginal and Islamic people’s involvement. The implications of this erasure are significant due to the legacy of the myth in maintaining particular views about the Australian inland landscape and the use and appropriation of Indigenous knowledge. Focusing on visual artwork of sociocultural productions associated with the 1860 Victorian Exploring Expedition (VEE), commonly referred to as “Burke and Wills”, this article identifies representations that reflect ongoing social and ecological knowledge of human relationships with nature. As a simple strategy to reimagine Australia’s myths,this article draws on visual artworks and other colonial era secondary sources, plus more recent literature associated with cameleer and Aboriginal histories, to identify representations of settler colonialism and erasure to highlight shared histories worthy of further research. This article examines the structural mechanism of space-off as a strategy to increase understanding of the ways in which settler colonialism pervades not only the national psyche, but also ways in which knowledge and culture are (re)produced based on “an appropriationist logic of domination.” Highlighting the ways settler colonialism is maintained, in particular through processes of racialisation, space-off and particular history practices, this article contributes to the growing discipline of Australian Islamic studies and will support further research into shared histories of cross-cultural knowledge production.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-22
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian Journal of Islamic Studies
Volume3
Issue number3
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2019

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