Strategies of Encounter | Adventures in Post-Humanism - Indigenous Ontological Conceptions of Country and Co-Becoming
Associate Professor Gabrielle Fletcher, Institute of Koorie Education, Deakin University, AustraliaHow Long: 60 Mins
The global work of bush adventure therapies in healing, challenging and extending the ‘human’ is a well-grounded cognitive, educational and theoretic movement gaining significant momentum in more particularised iterations of regional practice. Place-based contexts can forge new engagements and useful nuances in deepening the possibility and meaning of such work. However, what of the environment itself? Does the landscape simply await these connections as a passive theatre ‘re-made’ and re-imagined for mastery and human intervention? This paper will disrupt the adventures ‘within’, and consider strategies of encounter of both human and more-than-human interactions as co-creation and co-authoring of the ‘environment’. Drawing upon Indigenous ontologies, Australian Aboriginal conceptions of Country as sentient and sapient will be considered, and an argument raised that, as everything is knowledgeable, Country is therefore co-therapist (not just therapeutic). This post-human contemplation will be staged as eisegesis, with a recognition of Country as Being to accelerate, support and amplify the encounter and conceptually expand practice.
GABRIELLE FLETCHER is a Gundungurra woman from the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. She is an Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies at the Institute of Koorie Education, Deakin University. She has previously worked within Indigenous spaces at the University of Newcastle; Macquarie University and Curtin University, and has a background in Critical and Cultural Studies, Indigenous Studies and Creative Writing. Her work examines Indigenous authenticity in post-colonial spaces, mobilising ficto-criticism and creative non-fiction as strategies of encounter. She is increasingly interested in post-humanism and narrativity. Gabrielle is grounded by her experience in Indigenous community and the responsibilities of remembering.