An Appreciation of Difference: WEH Stanner and Aboriginal by Melinda Hinkson, Jeremy Beckett

By Melinda Hinkson, Jeremy Beckett

The paintings of popular Australian anthropologist WEH Stanner is given ancient and analytical context during this choice of contributions from a few of Australia’s top lecturers within the box of Aboriginal experiences. expert by way of pioneers of anthropology, together with Bronislaw Malinowski, Stanner undertook paintings in Australia, Africa, and the Pacific, and helped to notify public understandings of Aboriginal ideals and faith, in addition to federal coverage in the direction of them. Demonstrating the continued relevance of his paintings in gentle of present debates on Aboriginal affairs, this exam is a reminder of the numerous impact Stanner had not just on social technological know-how yet at the complete global.

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Stanner is rightly regarded as one of the most evocative interpreters of Aboriginal life and cosmology because of his command, at moments poetic, of the English language. When writing for a general readership his prose was elegant, imaginative, compelling. His notion of ‘the great Australian silence’ and illumination of the Aboriginal Dreaming fired the imaginations of many. Students recall his propensity to proffer useful neologisms and secretaries lament that his revisions of their typed letters always contained more strange words than the first draft.

His notion of ‘the great Australian silence’ and illumination of the Aboriginal Dreaming fired the imaginations of many. Students recall his propensity to proffer useful neologisms and secretaries lament that his revisions of their typed letters always contained more strange words than the first draft. Others were left to mull over such ideas that, for Aboriginal people, life ‘was a joyous thing with maggots at the centre’ (Stanner 1963, p. 37; see Morphy this volume). But Stanner struggled with his writing.

He had a ‘gift for simplicity in describing problems of a complex nature’ (Pomeroy 1995, p. 200). He had worked for several prominent conservative politicians, including the New South Wales premier, Bertram Stevens, preparing data and ideas for the government on economic and social matters. In 1941 he was adviser to Percy Spender, Minister for the Army in the third Menzies Ministry, and continued in that position until there was a change of government in October 1941. He most likely remained an adviser to the incoming Minister for the Army, Frank Forde, 27 Geoffrey Gray in part because Spender remained in the War Cabinet until February 1944 (Horner 1996, pp.

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