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Legacies of Indigenous Resistance

Pemulwuy, Jandamarra and Yagan in Australian Indigenous Film, Theatre and Literature


Matteo Dutto

This book explores the ways in which Australian Indigenous filmmakers, performers and writers work within their Indigenous communities to tell the stories of early Indigenous resistance leaders who fought against British invaders and settlers, thus keeping their legacies alive and connected to community in the present. It offers the first comprehensive and trans-disciplinary analysis of how the stories of Pemulwuy, Jandamarra and Yagan (Bidjigal, Bunuba and Noongar freedom fighters, respectively) have been retold in the past forty years across different media. Combining textual and historical analysis with original interviews with Indigenous cultural producers, it foregrounds the multimodal nature of Indigenous storytelling and the dynamic relationship of these stories to reclamations of sovereignty in the present. It adds a significant new chapter to the study of Indigenous history-making as political action, while modelling a new approach to stories of frontier resistance leaders and providing a greater understanding of how the decolonizing power of Indigenous screen, stage and text production connects past, present and future acts of resistance.

«Legacies of Resistance is an exemplary book! Dutto explores how contemporary Indigenous Australian artists/filmmakers are retelling the lives of three key Indigenous Australians, famed for their resistance to British colonial violence, warriors for Indigenous rights during extreme frontier violence. This work will appeal to scholars of screen/media studies, Indigenous studies, anthropology and cultural studies, and historical studies.» (Faye Ginsburg¸ David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology and Director, NYU Center for Media, Culture and History, New York University)

«Matteo Dutto combines meticulously well-researched knowledge and understanding of Australia’s First Nation resistance fighters, expert moving image textual analysis and an inspired appropriation of the concept of «crosshatching» from China Mieville’s novel The City & the City. In this highly original and significant contribution to scholarship, Dutto’s love of storytelling and his own considerable storytelling skills are informed and enhanced by what proves to be an invaluable perspective: that of an outsider.» (Associate Professor Jane Mills, University of New South Wales, Sydney)