A case for reimagining Australia: Dialogic registers of the Other, truth-telling and a will to justice


  • Dean Chan
  • Misty Farquhar
  • Rob Garbutt
  • Thor Kerr
  • Baden Offord
  • Elfie Shiosaki
  • Yirga Woldeyes




reimagining, Australia, Other, truth-telling, will to justice


The critical and compelling impetus of reimagining Australia, which this and the previous special issue of Coolabah attempt to realise, has been formed through an ethical and intellectual lens fraught with profound acknowledgement of and attention to the legacies of epistemic, structural and psychological violence that characterise the formation and continuation of the modern nation-state of Australia. After all, what do we (writers, activist scholars, historians and intellectuals contributing to these special issues) mean by reimagining Australia? Is it possible to reimagine this place, polity, culture, country, nation, idea, people, with all the weight upon us of how it has been desired into being, specifically by those Enlightenment traditions that have come to dominate its present? As much as Australia is a vast place with diverse cultural lives, its dominant colonial history has incapacitated it from unleashing the energies within these diversities. By putting our sense of place central to how we mediate and relate with each other and the environment, by remembering silenced histories and recognising multiple memories, reimagining emerges from linked lives, crossed borders, and in-between spaces. We are reminded that reimagining occurs in multiple and intersectional sites that allow multiple realities to mediate with each other in dignity. In this regard, the significance of listening to diverse knowledge traditions, in particular Indigenous and non-western voices, becomes critical for the type of cognitive and knowledge diversity such reimagining requires.