One strange colonial thing: Material remembering and the Bark Shield of Botany Bay

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Journal Article
Continuum, 2013, 27 (1), pp. 18 - 29
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Declared objects of colonialism are strange things. They confirm colonialism but also repudiate it, resist it and persist beyond it. This paper is called by and follows one strange thing, the Bark Shield of Botany Bay, while exploring the idea of material remembering. The remembered colonial object does not always stand apart from consciousness or the embodied subject but helps to produce both. It both confirms and rearranges. When we remember materially we are reorganizing (for the remembered is never as it was before) that metaphysical arrangement in the present. This reorganization enables the shield to emerge as a particular kind of disruption to a colonial culture that has used material artefacts to mark strict divides between the Indigenous and the modern, past and present and between Indigenous ownership and white possession. The multiple ways in which this shield has been silenced, contained and hidden through multiple representations suggest the ongoing effectivity of this particular 'thing' and its persistent call for justice. © 2013 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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