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Palgrave Macmillan

Early Childhood in Postcolonial Australia

Children's Contested Identities

ISBN 9781137392176
Publication Date June 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Critical Cultural Studies of Childhood

Early Childhood in Postcolonial Australia explores how cultural identities are contested in postcolonial spaces by subjects of nation, color and culture in early childhood settings. The book uses participatory action research methodology to gather how language was used in early childhood settings to "speak" of the interaction between the cultural groups of "self" and "other" in Australia. Ganga, the largest river in India is used as a metaphor by the author to guide the narrators and the narratives through multiple theories to surface their subjective attachments to such identities. By doing so, it provides a dialogic form of discourse analysis for researchers and early childhood educators, who want to critically inquire how cultural identities are contested by the "Power" of "whiteness" ideology in postcolonial countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, UK and USA.

Prasanna Srinivasan is Research Fellow in the Equity and Childhood Program, Youth Research Centre at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Australia. Her doctoral research inquires how cultures are enacted in early childhood settings. She has earlier worked in ARC projects that have critically explored the support for cultural diversity in early childhood settings and primary schools in Australia.

Introduction: Who Am I? Who Is My Ganga?
1. My Ganga: Our Beginnings, Our Context, Our Stories
2. My Ganga "Speaks": othering, Othering, øthering Australian/not Australian
3. My Ganga "Speaks": Complex(ion) of Australian/not Australian
4. My Ganga "Speaks": Forbidden Fs of Australian/not Australian
5. My Ganga "Speaks": Tongue Ties of Australian/not Australian
6. My Ganga "Speaks": Terra Strikes of Australian/not Australian
7. Contesting Australian with Children: In othered/Othered/øthered Voices
Epilogue: (Re)contesting Identities with øther and Other Australians


"Srinivasan turns to 'Ganga' the river of India as a schizophrenic voice of reason, strength and enlightenment during this cultural identity quest. It is here that she challenges the constant 'race talk' between children, teachers and families. Early childhood teachers struggle with these situations, often choosing to discard the existence of 'race talk', silence the discussion, or justify the intent through multicultural and nationalistic ideologies. This book will help to unlock these conversations giving permission to speak and permission to trouble and engage with the highly stimulating and unique insights." - Tracy Young, Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, Swinburne University of Technology, Australia
"This is a must read book that attempts to depict the post-colonial reality for the Australian who wonders about 'being Australian' and the meaning of it in one's own identity claiming as 'boundary speaks'. Srinivasan makes a useful contribution to the academic literature that sheds light on culture, mono-culture, and multi-culture in a multitude of different discourses to understand the burden of being a migrant as pertinent questions are asked about who determines how and what worth one would have as a player in the nationhood and citizenship." - Ramila Sadikeen, Director, Swinburne Prahran Community Children's Centre Co-op Ltd, Australia
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