Psychoanalyzing colonialism, colonizing psychoanalysis : re-reading aboriginality
This study argues for the necessity of a psychoanalytic perspective in the study of colonization, while recognizing the complicity of psychoanalysis in the colonial project. My first chapter situates the Oedipal subject as a historic effect and attempts to trace some of the conditions of its emergence. In this way, I seek to call into question the universal status that Freud attributed to the Oedipal subject. From this historicized perspective, I then read Freud's Totem and Taboo, and its construction of the 'savage', as an effect of displacement, and in so doing, suggest a relation between the Oedipalized subject and the colonizing subject. The following three chapters are comprised of detailed readings of specific events and texts in Australian cultural history. All of these chapters focus on Aboriginal writers, and argue that the texts they have produced can be read as challenging, in a variety of ways, the naturalized construction of the patriarchal nuclear family in the colonial context, and the Oedipalized subject that supports it. The first of these contextualizes the life and work of David Ilnaipon, and argues for a more positive reassessmenot f his work that takes into consideration modes of Oedipalized subjectification operative in the colonial domain. The following chapter focuses on Sally Morgan's My Place, Australia's best-selling, Aboriginal autobiography, and suggests that its overwhelming popularity masks profound anxieties about the intimate and sexualized nature of colonial exploitation as manifest in the settler family home. The final chapter considers recent allegations that Mudrooroo, Australia's most wellknown and prolific Aboriginal writer, is actually an African American. This chapter suggests that a re-reading of his novels, Master of the Ghost Dreaming and Doctor Wooreddy's Prescription for Enduring the Ending of the World, provide possible ways of rethinking simplistic notions of identity and theirgrounding in Oedipalized identifications. All three textual events act as imperatives to remember the legacy of colonialism that continues to pervade contemporary Australian culture.