Early encounters in Aboriginal place: The role of emotions in French readings of Indigenous sites

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Abstract

This paper contributes to the burgeoning scholarship on the significance of emotions in the history of cross-cultural encounters. Rather than focusing on face-to face interactions, it examines how emotions governed European engagements with Aboriginal cultural landscapes and shaped Europeans' imaginings of how places could be constituted as sacred. It looks specifically at the writings of François Péron, one of the scientific crew of the Baudin expedition, a French Revolutionary voyage that visited Australia and Timor between 1801 and 1803. During the exploration of Australia the French expedition discovered two Aboriginal places that were interpreted as religiously significant to the local people: a grove discovered at Geographe Bay in the south-west of Australia and two tombs found at Maria Island off the south-east of Tasmania. Péron's extended discussion of these Aboriginal sites highlights the significance of emotions in the construction of ethnographic accounts, as well as the role of emotions in transcultural perceptions of place.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-23
JournalAustralian Aboriginal Studies
Volume2015-January
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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