Aboriginal people make history largely outside the academies. Yet much of Australia’s ‘official and public history’ is produced and disseminated through academic institutions and has often excluded or misrepresented Aboriginal history and experience.
The historical novel is a popular form chosen by Aboriginal authors in the late twentieth and early twenty first century to write Aboriginal history. For Aboriginal people history means retrieving the ‘hidden’ past and challenging the romanticised western view of a ‘lost culture’. History is used as a means of explaining personal and intergenerational suffering as well as speaking to Aboriginal resilience, activism and diversity in contemporary Australia. The personal and the political are always fused. Writing history in fiction allows the previously silenced voices in the making of Aboriginal history to be heard.
This Masterclass will explore the use of historical fiction to tell Aboriginal history and challenge us all to reconsider the previously rigid distinctions made between ‘history’ and ‘fiction’.
Participants will read Pascoe’s essay ‘Peaceable Kingdom’ to familiarise themselves with how Aboriginal people look at and record contact history. Please note the essay is in press and may not be quoted without his permission.
Places are limited and participants must submit a 200 word abstract (to Jeanine.firstname.lastname@example.org) in order to participate. The abstract should explain how you would use historical fiction in your research.
Abstract deadline: May 31st
Bruce Pascoe is a Wathaurong teacher, historian, editor, publisher and writer of fiction and non-fiction.