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ERIC Number: EJ960100
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0161-6463
Bodies that Matter: Performing White Possession on the Beach
Moreton-Robinson, Aileen
American Indian Culture and Research Journal, v35 n4 p57-72 2011
Beaches remain important places within indigenous coastal peoples' territories, although the silence about our ownership is deafening. Many authors have argued that within Australian popular culture the beach is a key site where racialized and gendered transgressions, fantasies, and desires are played out, but none have elucidated how these cultural practices reiteratively signify that the nation is a white possession. In this article the author examines how white possession functions ontologically and performatively within Australian beach culture through the white male body. She draws on Judith Butler's idea of performativity in that a culturally determined and historically contingent act, which is internally discontinuous, is only real to the extent that it is repeated. Raced and gendered norms of subjectivity are iterated in different ways through performative repetition in specific historical and cultural contexts. National racial and sexual subjects are in this sense both doings and things done, but where the author differs from Butler is that, she argues, they are existentially and ontologically tied to patriarchal white sovereignty. In this context, the author examines how the beach is appropriated as a white possession through the performative reiteration of the white male body. She then discusses how indigenous artist Vernon Ah Kee contests this performativity in his installation CANTCHANT. (Contains 2 figures and 40 notes.)
American Indian Studies Center at UCLA. 3220 Campbell Hall, Box 951548, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1548. Tel: 310-825-7315; Fax: 310-206-7060; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia