'Postcolonising' Amnesia in the Discourse of Reconcilliation: The Void in the Law's Response to the Stolen Generations
Australian Feminist Law Journal, Vol. 22, No.1, pp. 67-68, 2005
23 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 21, 2005
During the 1990s, the discourse of reconciliation emerged in the Australian rhetorical landscape and took pride of place as a project directly linked to the celebration of the centenary of the federation of the nation. Reconciliation was used to evoke the notion of 'coming to terms with' the traumatic history of colonialism and signified the possibility of a reconfiguration of race relations. The author investigates the usefulness of postcolonial theory as a framework for interrogating the law's response to claims made by members of the Stolen Generations in two cases: Kruger v Commonwealth and Cubillo v Commonwealth. Arguing that reconciliation, as a rhetorical structure, is characterised by the trope of absence, of willed forgetting and silence, the author argues that it functions as a 'failed historicity'.
Keywords: Stolen Generations, Kruger v Commonwealth, Cubillo v Commonwealth, reconciliation, postcolonial theory
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