A conversation with Suzi Hutchings, Kim Mahood, Paul Carter and Melinda Hinkson to explore what is at stake in committed, difficult, intimate cultural writing in the present.
WRITING CLOSE TO LIFE: PERILS AND POSSIBILITIES
A panel discussion to mark the recent publication of Melinda Hinkson’s new book See How We Roll: Enduring Exile Between Desert and Urban Australia (Duke University Press, 2021).
Suzi Hutchings, Kim Mahood, Paul Carter and Melinda Hinkson explore what is at stake in committed, difficult, intimate cultural writing in the present.
In See How We Roll Melinda Hinkson follows the experiences of Nungarrayi, a Warlpiri woman from the Central Australian desert, as she struggles to establish a new life for herself in the city of Adelaide. Banished from her hometown, Nungarrayi energetically navigates promises of transformation as well as sedimented racialized expectations on the urban streets. Drawing on a decades-long friendship, Hinkson explores these circumstances through Nungarrayi’s relationships: those between her country and kin that sustain and confound life beyond the desert, those that regulate her marginalized citizenship, and the new friendships called out by displacement and metropolitan life. An intimate ethnography, See How We Roll provides great insight into the enduring violence of the settler colonial state while illuminating the efforts of Indigenous people to create lives of dignity and shared purpose in the face of turbulence, grief, and tightening governmental controls.
“Reflecting on issues of migration, exile, and life under continuing settler occupation in Australia, Melinda Hinkson brings into view the quotidian pressures and moments of joy for diasporic Warlpiri communities while pushing against anthropology’s too hasty withdrawal from accounts of place-based difference. Her ruminations on ethnographic representation and theories of identity and place will bring long-standing anthropological debates to a new level of vulnerability and exposure.” — Tess Lea, author of Wild Policy: Indigeneity and the Unruly Logics of Intervention
“Melinda Hinkson communicates the massive sense of grief and loss that underlies contemporary Indigenous life in Central Australia while addressing the drastic and changing policies that the Australian government has imposed on Indigenous people. With her extended attention to Indigenous life in new conditions, Hinkson engages with social life in a framework that allows for its considerations in terms of global processes. An intimate and nuanced exploration of life lived in difficult circumstances, See How We Roll is a singular and beautifully executed book.” — Fred R. Myers, author of Painting Culture: The Making of an Aboriginal High Art.
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Recorded: 7 April 2022