Offord, B 2011, 'Village in the jungle: the eighth annual Doireann MacDermott lecture', Coolabah, vol. 5, pp. 182-194.
©2011 Baden Offord. This text may be archived and redistributed both in electronic form and in hard copy, provided that the author and journal are properly cited and no fee is charged.
This paper is a slightly edited version of a keynote lecture, delivered at the Aula Magna of the University of Barcelona as The Eighth Annual Doireann MacDermott Lecture, organized by the university’s Australian Studies Centre in December 2007. Offord’s essay takes us from Leonard Woolf’s creative and ethical intervention in Britain’s colonial project, forged through a transformative vision of the ‘spirit of place’ in his novel The Village in the Jungle (1931), to the Australian specifics of colonialism and its aftermath. Highly critical of the dominant power structures in Australian society that keep sustaining the Enlightenment discourse of an unfinished colonial project, Offord delineates alternative strategies so as to deal with identity and belonging, arguing for a notion/nation of ‘cultural citizenship’, no longer based on exclusions.