Aboriginal Surfing: Reinstating Culture and Country

By:
Dr. Colleen McGloin
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Mainstream surfing in Australia is a discursive cultural practice, institutionally sanctioned as integral to national identity. Surfing represents the nation through a mode of white heterosexual orientation that is encoded into its practices and its texts. Surfing represents an historical transformation in the national psyche from the bush, inaugurated by the nation’s literary canon, to the beach, which has become the modern site of the nation’s identity.

Indigenous surfing provides an oppositional view of nation and country that reinscribes the beach with cultural meanings specific to Aboriginal cultures. Surfing in this context can be seen as a reclamation of culture and a challenge to the dominance of white conceptions of nation and identity. This paper examines the indigenous surfing film, "Surfing the Healing Wave" and explores the film's representations of histories that are relevant to Aboriginal people. The film's narrative disruption of the surfing film genre instates a pedagogical practice that functions to reinscribe Aboriginal culture and Aboriginal histories through the contemporary event of the indigenous surfing contest.


Keywords: Australian National Identity, Indigeneity, Surfing Cultures, Pedagogy
Stream: First Nations and Indigenous Peoples
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Aboriginal Surfing


Dr. Colleen McGloin

Lecturer, Woolyungah Indigenous Centre, University of Wollongong
Australia

I have recently completed a doctoral degree in Cultural Studies at the University of Wollongong. My research focused on the production of nation and national identity through surfing culture. I currently lecture in the discipline of Aboriginal Studies, specifically in the area of Indigenous theories of decolonisation. My research interests, in addition to those explored in my PhD research, include Indigenous pedagogy and cultural theory.

Ref: H06P0085