Utopian transformations in the contact zone: A posthuman, postcolonial reading of Shaun Tan and John Marsden's The Rabbits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

The 1998 picture book The Rabbits, written by John Marsden and illustrated by Shaun Tan, is an allegory of the colonisation of Australia. The book has been controversial for a number of reasons. While some have read it as too politically correct, others have argued that the portrayal of the Aboriginals is patronising and silencing, and still others have been confounded by its categorisation as children's literature. For the author of this article, the overwhelming message of the book is the destruction of the landscape due to colonialism. In the reading of The Rabbits in this article, the author attempts to bring together the postcolonial and the posthuman ‘contact zone’ perspectives, as theorised by Mary Louise Pratt and Donna Haraway respectively. The author analyses the textual pages of The Rabbits as representative of a troubled contact zone where text and image exist in tension with each other such that two separate but interwoven strands ultimately come together to deliver a poignant message. The author further argues that the book can be read as a deeply transformative text, mainly because of Tan's illustrations which subtly counter Marsden's sharply polarised representation of the coloniser and the colonised. Copyright © 2013 Symposium Journals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)418-426
JournalGlobal Studies of Childhood
Volume3
Issue number4
Early online dateJan 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

Citation

Banerjee, B. (2013). Utopian transformations in the contact zone: A posthuman, postcolonial reading of Shaun Tan and John Marsden's The Rabbits. Global Studies of Childhood, 3(4), 418-426.

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