Arena 109: the meaning of frontier…


Response to Gillian Cowlishaw
Les Rosenblatt
Bruce Pascoe in Convincing Ground, referring to the early Australian frontier, says: “The frontier was a place confused by the grandeur of liberal theology coming out of London and the chaos of malice, greed, and opportunistic racism at the coal face. The present is afflicted by all those things but with the added retardation of apathy and profound ignorance.”

In The Gauche Intruder, Jennifer Rutherford is ‘interested in the ways that fantasies of the good provide a camouflage for aggression at both a national and local level: an aggression directed both to an external and an internal Other.’ This aggression in Australia – and its associated guilt – is perhaps being presently displaced onto ‘boat people’…

It seems to me that Zizek’s fanciful question in opening up a non-nationalistic and non-owning possibility of attachment to place is what is so terrifying to the national imaginary evidenced in Australian national responses to the few thousand boat people seeking refuge here.


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