Talking About 'My Place'/My Place: Feminism, Criticism and the Other's Autobiography
A few years ago I edited an autobiography written in 1936 by a working- class New Zealand woman, Mary Lee's The Not So Poor. Setting out on a project of "restoring a voice," allowing the as yet unpublished speech of a member of a largely silenced group to be heard, I nevertheless found that my research and commentary, with its access to research tools and specialised knowledges, undermined the authority of that voice even as it attempted to assert it, delivering not a formerly silenced truth but a problematic and strategic text which negotiated uneasily with more powerful texts of its historical moment. To borrow the formulation Gayatri Spivak uses, "representation" in the politico-legal sense of "speaking for" could rapidly slide into something more like "substitution" (Spivak 275-6). In what follows, therefore, I contest parts of the critical pieces I discuss, but write from a position of complicity rather than out of a claim to purity. Indeed, it is central to the argument of this article that in these matters there is no position of purity, no clean place.
Publisher: RMIT University, School of Applied Communication
Keywords: Sally Morgan; Aboriginal; Autobiography; Australia
Research Type: Journal Article
The following licence files are associated with this item: