Did you know my father? the zone of unspeakability as postcolonial legacy

Ana Dragojlovic*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Through a detailed ethnographic account of an Indisch woman born in the former Dutch East Indies but living in the contemporary Netherlands, this paper explores the convoluted relationships between trauma caused by war, sexual violence, gender normativity and family relationships. It examines how traumatic knowledge about biological kin becomes a point of reconfiguration of the self, present social relations and the wider world. Following up on scholarship that stresses the importance of engaging with everyday manifestations of trauma caused by past violence, in order to understand the multifaceted expressions of social suffering (Das and Kleinman 1997, 2001), this paper explores how subjectivities are formed and refashioned through an active engagement with feelings of suffering and distress. I argue that Indisch genealogical work offers the individual the opportunity to enact a lived experience of the locality, sounds and smells of the places where one was born and once lived. These experiences offer a space for the resolution of suffering and the creation of forgiveness for both the individuals and the collectivities that inflicted the violence and suffering.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)319-334
    Number of pages16
    JournalAustralian Feminist Studies
    Issue number69
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


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