AIATSIS Seminar Series 2012/1
12.30pm, Monday 21 May 2012
Threads and Secrets: Black Women re-writing history through fiction
Dr Jeanine Leane - Australian Centre for Indigenous History, Australian National University

This presentation will explore the important and invaluable role of Aboriginal women in pre and
post contact Australia as both custodians of culture and experience and in the re-writing and representing
of the nation’s history. I will draw on my first work of prose Purple Threads (2011)
which is an episodic novel. Set in the shifting socio-historical landscape of the 1960s and 70s in
rural Australia, the narrative re-visits different historical eras, such as first contact between settlers
and Aborigines in the Wiradjuri lands, the assimilation policy and the 1967 referendum to provide
an alternative perspective on the nation’s history. With particular focus on three generations of
Aboriginal women, who tell their unique stories in the different historical contexts in which they
lived, national myths such as equality, freedom and the ‘workers’ paradise’ are re-written and represented
to readers from an Aboriginal perspective. The presentation will include readings from
Purple Threads.

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