Facing Empire: Indigenous Experiences in a Revolutionary Age
In the opening piece in this extraordinary collection of essays, Bill Gammage discusses fire management in Indigenous communities in Australia. Almost as an aside, he comments that “of course you need to appreciate fire as a management tool before the use of no fire can be detected” (43). This profound but simple remark might be taken as a guiding statement for the collection and the worlds of interpretative possibilities that it opens up: which tools and techniques do we recognise in our approach to colonial histories? How can we learn to recognise what is missing when we don’t even really appreciate what is already visible and tangible? To what extent does our scholarship recognise the “fire” of Indigenous work, let alone comprehend what we’re looking at when we see no fire?
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