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Indigenous textual cultures : reading and writing in the age of global empire

documentary heritage
  • Description

    "Indigenous Textual Cultures assesses how indigenous literacy, texts, and orality were related in a range of colonial situations, across three centuries, and the repercussions of these interactions today. Native writers deployed the written word to assert intellectual power within the uneven terrains of colonial rule.

    This collection highlights the role of literary practices in preserving indigenous knowledge traditions and in the dynamic, creative remaking of indigenous social life, cultural understanding, and political aspiration under imperialism. The essays also question the supposed hegemony of literacy within modernity by illustrating how it operates alongside orality, rather than replacing it. The volume brings together work on the Pacific, Australasia, North America, and Africa, highlighting a range of text genres that indigenous peoples contributed to or produced, including letters, journals, appeals to government, newspapers, pamphlets, and books. The variety and range of indigenous textual cultures are highlighted in the book's four parts. The first part examines material from Pacific archives that house an abundance of indigenous written material and explores why these repositories are largely under-utilized. Noelani Arista argues that scholars should learn the Hawaiian language in order to use the extensive Hawaiian language textual archive and should be trained to explore texts that had oral beginnings. The second section explores the relationship between orality and textuality in more depth. Keith Thor Carlson compares communication systems and processes used by settler colonists and by Salish people on Canada's Pacific coast, explicating a Salish time-based oral literacy that is inscribed within their landscapes. For missionaries or colonial officials, literacy and print were often seen as tools to govern or transform indigenous subjects, and the third section investigates indigenous peoples' negotiations with these discourses and technologies. Laura Rademaker argues that the Anindilyakwa people in Australia abandoned textual practices that missionaries advocated in the 1940s; instead, the Anindilyakwa wrote love letters, critique, and petitions adapted to their own needs that went against missionary prescriptions. The fourth section highlights the projection of indigenous voices through writing. Ivy Schweitzer considers Samuel Occom, a mid-18th-century Mohegan of New England, who used his writing skills to help fellow Native Americans; Schweitzer argues that literacy in pre-contact Native America differed from, and was much wider in scope than, textual symbolic systems"--Publisher information.

  • Place
  • Other Id

    LC3719 IND (Library of Congress Call Number)

    91998 (Cat ID)

    91801 (Presto content ID)

  • Department

Images and documents


  • Object Type
  • Name/Title
    Indigenous textual cultures : reading and writing in the age of global empire
  • Primary Maker
  • Contributor/Publisher
    Duke University Press
  • Place
  • Date
  • Physical Description

    357 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm

  • Language
  • Level of Current Record
    Bib record
  • Member Object

    1 item in this collection. View all items.

  • Subject Category
  • Content
    Introduction: Indigenous textual cultures, the politics of difference, and the dynamism of practice / Tony Ballantyne and Lachy Paterson -- Ka Waihona Palapala Manaleo : research in a time of plenty. Colonialism and the Hawaiian Language Archives / Noelani Arista -- Kanak writings and written tradition in the Archive of New Caledonia's "1917" War / Alban Bensa and Adrian Muckle -- Maori literacy practices in colonial New Zealand / Lachy Paterson -- "Don't destroy the writing" : time- and space-based communication and the colonial strategy of mimicry in nineteenth-century Salish-missionary relations on Canada's Pacific Coast / Keith Thor Carlson -- Talking traditions : orality, ecology, and spirituality in Mangaia's Textual cultures / Michael P.J. Reilly -- Polynesian family manuscripts (Puta Tupuna) from the Society and Austral Islands : interior history, formal logic, and social uses / Bruno Saura -- Print media, the Swahili language, and textual cultures in twentieth century Tanzania, c.1923-1939 / Emma Hunter -- Going off script : Aboriginal rejection and repurposing of English literacies / Laura Rademaker -- "Read it, don't smoke it"! Developing and maintaining literacy in Papua New Guinea / Evelyn Ellerman -- Colonial copyright, customs, and indigenous textualities : literary authority and textual citzenship / Isabel Hofmeyr -- He Pukapuka Tataku i nga Mahi a Te Rauparaha Nui : reading Te Rauparaha through time / Arini Loader -- Writing and beyond in indigenous North America : The Occom network / Ivy Schweitzer.
  • Public Access Text

    [Keywords: Literacy--Social aspects; Indigenous peoples--Education; Indigenous peoples--Communication; Indigenous peoples--Books and reading]

    Includes bibliographical references and index.

  • Subject Notes
    Tony Ballantyne is Pro-Vice-Chancellor in the Division of Humanities at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His many books include Entanglements of Empire: Missionaries, Maori, and the Question of the Body, also published by Duke University Press.
    Lachy Paterson is Professor at the University of Otago's Te Tumu: School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies.
    Angela Wanhalla is Associate Professor of History at the University of Otago.
  • Collection Type
    Reading Room
  • Last Update
    19 Dec 2023
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