A white woman stories to decolonise (herself).

Razuki, M 2019, A white woman stories to decolonise (herself)., Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Media and Communication, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

Attached Files
Name Description MIMEType Size
Razuki__Artefact_1_The_White_Woman.pdf Thesis application/pdf 23.30MB
Razuki__Artefact_2_Skin_In_The_Game.pdf Thesis application/pdf 16.16MB
Razuki__Artefact_3_Seeping_Oozing.pdf Thesis application/pdf 8.06MB
Razuki__Artefact_4_My_Conscience.pdf Thesis application/pdf 19.34MB
Razuki__Artefact_5_Im_Not_Racist.pdf Thesis application/pdf 6.51MB
Razuki__Artefact_6_Can_Anyone_Tell_Me.pdf Thesis application/pdf 12.94MB
Title A white woman stories to decolonise (herself).
Author(s) Razuki, M
Year 2019
Abstract This bricolage of writings is the result of a middle-class, middle-aged white privileged woman who jettisoned (most of) her motherly and housewifely duties to explore her social conscience in a scholarly but creative way. I call it my passion PhD as I meander through the cultural abyss between black and white Australia for the sheer love of learning, luxuriating in research, trying to see what I had never been shown, and unsee what I had been shown. I wonder how can I be complicit and complacent in a society that privileges me over others because of the colour of my skin?

I combine a creative practice of storytelling to question the status quo that is the dominant culture, the mercurial methodology of poetics, and the autoethnographic eye that guides a reflexive process of personal decolonisation. I bring to the research a burgeoning awareness of colonised minds, bodies, spirits and lenses and am confident my fresh eyes, curiosity and commitment to unlearn, unsee and unsettle can be deftly deployed to challenge and disrupt the prejudices and perceptions of my fellow white Australians.

This is not a problem-solving piece of research, although I am exploring the nature of a problem. The problem.  which is often erroneously cast as the `Aboriginal Problem' when it is a Whiteness Problem, is the core of my research. But I am not focusing just on First Nations peoples and their legacy of colonisation; rather, I examine our shared legacy, turning the gaze back on white Australia, holding up a mirror, to ask with all sincerity: Who is the problem? Where is the problem? What have we done? Why weren't we told? Did you really just say that?

The space I am writing into is the denial that W. E. H. Stanner called `The Great Australian Silence', `the cult of forgetfulness practiced on a national scale' (1968) and it remains disappointingly relevant today. I follow those historians who have sought to open white Australian ears and hearts to our violent history and the true legacy of colonisation, including Bernard Smith, Henry Reynolds, Ian Clark, Minoru Hokari, Lyndall Ryan and Inga Clendinnen, to name a few. I respectfully listen to and follow the lead of First Nations scholars from other colonised nations who have demanded from the academy the right and space to create research and methodologies in their own cultural shape, foregrounding their own ways and knowing and being, such as Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Jo-Ann Archibald, Michael Yellow Bird, Richard Frankland, Natalie Harkin and Aileen Moreton-Robinson.

I submit my whiteness to scrutiny to `undo', or unravel, this identity to which I have been so accustomed and that has afforded me so much. In this task, I see myself through the gaze of critical race scholars like George Yancy, Robin DiAngelo, Shannon Sullivan and poet Claudia Rankine and emerge chastened. I lean on the scholarship of my creative contemporaries who write from deep in their hearts and bellies to advocate for a society that is better than this, that we are better than this, for Treaty, for self-determination, for Change the Date, for a First Nations voice to Parliament. I am inspired by, and add my voice to the works of Stephen Muecke, Deborah Bird Rose, Anne Elvey, Katrina Schlunke and Michael Farrell.

What you have in your hands are six chapbooks, each painted in a hue from Boon wurrung Country, filled with stories about my peering into and trying to work out ways to bridge the cultural abyss to discover how I might write about white relationships with black Australia in a way that engages white Australia to listen.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communication
Subjects Postcolonial Studies
Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)
Keyword(s) Race studies
First Nations
Creative practice
Creative writing
White privilege
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Created: Wed, 24 Jul 2019, 09:00:48 EST by Adam Rivett
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