By Tony Swain

Some of the parts ascribed to conventional Aboriginal ideals and practices are the results of touch with exterior peoples--Melanesians and Indonesians, in addition to Europeans. This arguable and provocative booklet is the 1st unique and continent-wide learn of the effect of outsiders on Australian Aboriginal worldviews. the writer separates out a typical middle of non secular trust that 1111 precontact spirituality of Australian Aborigines extra taken with position than with any philosophy of time or origins. a spot for Strangers investigates Aboriginal fable, ritual, cosmology and philosophy, and in addition examines social association, subsistence styles and cultural switch. it is going to be of significant curiosity to readers in anthropology, spiritual stories, comparative philosophy, Aboriginal reports and Australian heritage.

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

Sample text

She or he might say Worlds to endure 23 'in the foreground are clouds, in the distance is land', but does this suggest there is no land (perhaps even partially visible) closer to the viewer? Likewise, to say one or two generations ago there were certain kinsfolk but somewhere beyond that were Abiding Events does not suggest those events then stopped. It is only that they stand there alone, unobscured by rhythmic events. g. 33 There remains one final objection that must be dealt with. Does the sequence from Abiding Events to the present (even if the former endure) not suggest temporality?

Would time develop? Would there be not only histories but eschatologies and millenniums? That, of course, is precisely the subject of this book, but before unravelling that story there is yet more to be said of the precontact structure of the Aboriginal world. THE SHAPE OF EVENTS Abiding Events are characterised by the fact that they take shape and are maintained as world-forms. So far I have depicted this as the victory of a spatial ontology over that of time. If, however, it has been necessary to retract all temporal projections onto the precontact Aboriginal understanding of events, it is equally essential to at least define what is meant by 'space'.

After all, from a Western perspective these not only return but are also numbered. The 'numbering', however, must be immediately qualified, for although there are always 'eight' subsections, they are not thus perceived by Aborigines. The 'number' is a byproduct of an organisation which von Brandenstein has shown to be a socio-philosophic division of a paired duality,21 and in practice this is how Aboriginal people actually employ 'skin' names. As for the cycle, however, I am happy to concede that one can discern time beginning to break free through subsections, and I will explain why this is so in chapter 5.

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