Walking My Path: An Autoethnographic Study of Identity

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Woods, Davina (2018) Walking My Path: An Autoethnographic Study of Identity. PhD thesis, Victoria University.


‘Walking My Path: An Autoethnographic Study of Identity’ is a doctoral thesis written in first person narrative about my search for my ancestral country in Far North Queensland. Incorporating both physical walking on country and metaphorical walking of trauma trails (Atkinson 2002) the story of my matrilineal Grandfather’s childhood builds on Shirleen Robinson’s (2008) ‘Something like Slavery?’. Enabling me to explore First-Nations philosophical concepts, I explain how I practise this philosophy inside my First-Nations family and community in the 21st century. Embedding my research in Indigenous Standpoint Theory and gathering the data, using a methodological net that includes yarning and dadirri, I am honouring First-Nations peoples. Finding that much of the data was distressing I have developed Creative Healing Inquiry (CHI), a process that supports the rebalancing of an individual’s psyche. CHI also makes the thesis both intertextual and serves as a mechanism that acknowledges multiliteracies. The Cusp Generation, children born between the end of WWII (1945) and Australia’s withdrawal from Vietnam (1972), are the people I propose would benefit most from public pedagogy that tells of Australia’s history. With the release of the Australian Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report in 1991 and the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission’s Bringing Them Home report in 1997; my work makes shared history more relevant through its direct connection with actual people rather than abstract statistics. Demonstrated by the Commonwealth Government’s continuation of ‘The Intervention’ and rejection of the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’, Australia is not a post-colonial nation-state and Australians, in general, need to undertake cognitive decolonisation; and truth telling, as steps that may lead to what Marcia Langton has called a ‘genuine intercultural dialogue’ (cited in Healy 1997, p. 46).

Item type Thesis (PhD thesis)
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/40585
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Historical > FOR Classification > 1608 Sociology
Historical > FOR Classification > 2103 Historical Studies
Current > Division/Research > College of Arts and Education
Keywords Queensland; walking; First-Nations; Indigenous Standpoint Theory; Creative Healing Inquiry; Australia; legislation; identity; place; public pedagogy; autoethnography; yarning; dadirri; narrative; vignettes; trauma; trauma trails; racism; society; mental health; colonialism; heuristic methodology
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