Book Chapter

Australian postcolonial trauma and silences in Samson and Delilah

B Gook

Scars and Wounds: Film and Legacies of Trauma | Published : 2017


In 1932, the respected anthropologist Raymond Firth wrote that the Aboriginal Australian manifested a strange trait, one unlike their indigenous counterparts elsewhere in the colonised Pacific. The Indigenous person, Firth said, ‘mutely dies.’ It would take just two hundred years of settler-Indigenous contact – and, within that span, a few intense decades of frontier activity – to decimate the Indigenous people who had been in Australia for forty thousand years. If this population died at all ‘mutely,’ then it may well have been in shock and trauma. Silence, after all, is a common response to extreme suffering. To invoke Cathy Caruth, this implores us to engage in ‘a new mode of reading and ..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

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