Agape Love in Indigenous Women's Memoir: A Quest for Justice and Unity

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    Contemporary conversations of love tend to be dominated by romance but it is only one experience of attachment, and the personal stories of care, kindness and sacrifice contained in a sample of Indigenous women’s memoir published during the 1980s in Australia express an agape form of love. This is a social bond most commonly associated with the western Christian ideal of universal love and explicates humankind’s capacity to love selflessly and sacrifice for others. Agape love also recognises the interdependency of social life and thus invokes a moral code that sustains the conditions, attitudes and behaviours that preserve social unity (Beshai. Humanistic Psychologist 45(4):408–421, 2017). In understanding agape love as a quest for unity, the memoirs published during a decade of intensified racial conflict in Australia can be seen as both critiques of the colonial legacies that had created the systemic injustice and which destroyed the unity of Indigenous communities and excluded them from the national story; and calls to social action to address these injustices. In expressing forgiveness towards their oppressors, and in communicating a hope that Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians could find a way to coexist beyond the nation’s racist past, the authors challenged dominant discourses, which portrayed Indigenous Australians as without humanity and unable to care for themselves or others (Bennett. White politics and Black Australians. St. Leonards, NSW: Allen and Unwin, 1999) and radically reimagined the possibility of a more inclusive Australian community.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Love
    Subtitle of host publicationTranscultural and Transdisciplinary Perspectives
    EditorsClaude-Helene Mayer, Elisabeth Vanderheiden
    Place of PublicationSwitzerland
    PublisherSpringer Nature Switzerland AG
    Number of pages17
    ISBN (Electronic)9783030459963
    ISBN (Print)978-3-030-45995-6
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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