Into an Age of Cultural Contagion: Vampiric Globalisation in Mudrooroo’s Master of the Ghost Dreaming Series


  • Helle Bildsøe



Mudrooroo, Maban Realism, Gothic vampire, globalisation, cultural contagion


This article revisit’s the work of Mudrooroo in a new and timely framework of globalisation. I argue that Mudrooroo’s Master of the Ghost Dreaming series comprises a globalisation narrative. The series performs a transmutation of the conventional postcolonial narrative in which the forces of colonialism are made known and subverted. It identifies a novel power within the Australian landscape. This new power, personified by the vampire Amelia Fraser, is more dangerous even than the white colonisers. Whereas colonial forces operate through bounded Orientalist discourses of self/other, civilised/uncivilised, white/black, Amelia’s vampiric domination operates through, and is sustained by, a practice of uncontainability. Mudrooroo’s vampire has previously been read as a metaphor for white predatorial colonialism. However, I propose that Mudrooroo’s vampire Amelia is more adequately understood as the epitome of boundless cultural contagion. I consider that when thus reassessed within a global rather than a postcolonial framework, the Master of the Ghost Dreaming series provides an imaginative account of Australia’s emergence as a space of (cultural) contamination. This space corrupts and collapses discourses of authenticity and purity, thereby engendering radically new visions of being-in-the-world as informed by multivalent experiential entanglements. Through a fusion of fantastic genres that interweaves maban, mythic, and European gothic modes, the series explores the Australian landscape as a site defined by (cultural) contagion.