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A Place for Strangers: Towards a History of Australian by Tony Swain

By Tony Swain

A number of the components ascribed to standard Aboriginal ideals and practices are the results of touch with exterior peoples--Melanesians and Indonesians, in addition to Europeans. This debatable and provocative e-book is the 1st certain and continent-wide examine of the impression of outsiders on Australian Aboriginal worldviews. the writer separates out a standard middle of spiritual trust that 1111 precontact spirituality of Australian Aborigines extra focused on position than with any philosophy of time or origins. a spot for Strangers investigates Aboriginal delusion, ritual, cosmology and philosophy, and likewise examines social association, subsistence styles and cultural swap. it is going to be of significant curiosity to readers in anthropology, non secular experiences, comparative philosophy, Aboriginal experiences and Australian historical past.

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Extra info for A Place for Strangers: Towards a History of Australian Aboriginal Being

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THE BODY TIME AND THE BODY There are three themes in Aboriginal Studies which have been stumbling blocks for Western thinkers. High Gods, or the lack thereof, and 'totemism', we have already met. The third theme is the astoundingly tenacious debate revolving around the question: are Aborigines ignorant of the relationship between copulation and procreation? Sadly, the question has almost always been cast in the negative. The tone for the debate was set early this century when James Frazer, faithfully summarising the poor edinography of his day, concluded that Aboriginal people simply did not understand the role of physiological paternity.

82 Furthermore, given this emphasis on spatial plurality, it should not be surprising to realise that only specific human and other life essences emerge from specific sites. In other monistic traditions, thinkers retreating from a single cosmic order succeeded mostly in portraying the localised as self-sufficient micro-cosmic replicas. 84 In Christendom, William Blake said . . 85 True plurality of place, on the other hand, requires that while a location is autonomous, it is also unique and hence not equivalent to a larger whole.

74 Rather, all that is land-derived people, knowledge, cultural objects - is related along lines of place. Thus, in a passage which should be starkly opposed to Eliade's views of an axis mundi, Munn writes that the iconic symbol of a site-centre does not refer to the centre of the world as a whole, but only to a single place. Walbiri country consists of many such life centres linked together by paths. There is no single locality that focalizes all the others. 75 The subjectivity of space sustained through Ancestral movement thus provides for a double relatedness of land; the channels between places on the one hand, and the links between sites and other (placederived) conscious beings on the other.

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