Prosthetic gods: the Australian colonial body and Melanesia 1930-1950

Dixon, Robert (1997) Prosthetic gods: the Australian colonial body and Melanesia 1930-1950. In: AULLA 1997: 29th Congress of the Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association , 10-14 Feb 1997, Sydney, Australia.


Taking Elizabeth Grosz's theory of the body image as its starting point, this paper seeks to develop a theory of how the body image of Australian modernity was sculpted by the experience of colonialism, especially in Melanesia in the 1930s. The body so formed can be understood as a hinge between the key discourses of nation and gender, primitivism and modernity. Taking as case studies two noted Australian travellers in Papua New Guinea, the prospector Michael Leahy and the travel writer Frank Clune, the paper outlines a poetics of colonial spaces and bodies which remains a powerful influence in contemporary regimes of representation.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2007 11:47
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2018 06:58
Uncontrolled Keywords: Frank Clune; Michael Leahy; Papua New Guinea; colonialism; national identity
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200211 Postcolonial Studies
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9401 Community Service (excl. Work) > 940106 Citizenship and National Identity

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