MitchellRolls1.pdf (1.11 MB)
James Cowan and the white quest for the black self
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-25, 23:23 authored by Rolls, M
Abstract: A literary genre is emerging in which Aborigines are cast as the spiritual saviours of the supposedly alienated Western self One of the most prolific authors writing in this field is the Australian, James Cowan. Through a series of books Cowan moves further andfurther into the Aboriginal metaphysical realm until at last, he would have his readers believe, he actually enters the Dreaming and becomes an intrinsic part of it. In this article I critically examine these books, focusing on Cowan's construction of Aborigines and the sorts of claims he makes. I also consider somepossible consequences of his particular portrayal of Aborigines. Despite his prominence in this field, and publishers' claims that he is 'an internationally respected authority on Australian Aborigines and other indigenous peoples', his worksofar has received little critical analysis.
Publication titleAustralian Aboriginal Studies