Restoring the Chain of Memory - T.G.H. Strehlow and the Repatriation of Australian Indigenous Knowledge - James L. Cox

Restoring the Chain of Memory - T.G.H. Strehlow and the Repatriation of Australian Indigenous Knowledge - James L. Cox

The Context: Central Australia, T.G.H. Strehlow and His Detractors

Restoring the Chain of Memory - T.G.H. Strehlow and the Repatriation of Australian Indigenous Knowledge - James L. Cox

James L. Cox [+-]
University of Edinburgh and Western Sydney University
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James L. Cox is Emeritus Professor of Religious Studies, University of Edinburgh,and Adjunct Professor in the Religion and Society Research Cluster, Western Sydney University. He has particular interests in the study of Indigenous Religions, with emphases on Africa, the Arctic and Australia and in methodologies in the academic study of religions.

Description

This chapter provides basic background to the argument of the book that T.G.H. Strehlow (1908-1978), as a key interpreter of Indigenous Religions in Central Australia, continues to play an important role in contemporary movements to repatriate Australian Indigenous knowledge. The context for Strehlow’s life and writings is provided by outlining the main language groupings of the peoples of Central Australia among whom Strehlow lived and worked, principally the Arrernte. This is followed by introducing the reader to Strehlow’s biographical details, including his early years as the only white child living on the Hermannsburg Lutheran mission located approximately 130 kilometres west of Alice Springs, and the forty years he spent as an adult researching the peoples of Central Australia during which time increasingly he became committed to preserving and interpreting what he considered the disappearing religious and cultural traditions of the central desert peoples. His final years were overtaken by controversy concerning who ‘owned’ the knowledge he had procured from Indigenous leaders, including the films, transcripts and sacred objects he possessed. The last half of the chapter analyses three important writers, Strehlow’s ‘detractors’, who have provided critical accounts of Strehlow’s life: Ward McNally, Barry Hill and Tim Rowse. The chapter concludes by suggesting that the controversies which surrounded Strehlow during the final decade of his life have overshadowed the substantial contribution he made to interpreting the religious, social and cultural life of the Indigenous peoples of Central Australia.

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Citation

Cox, James. The Context: Central Australia, T.G.H. Strehlow and His Detractors. Restoring the Chain of Memory - T.G.H. Strehlow and the Repatriation of Australian Indigenous Knowledge. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 1-23 Mar 2018. ISBN 9781781793374. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=27443. Date accessed: 15 Nov 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27443. Mar 2018

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