Anthropologist W.E.H. Stanner is perhaps most well known for coining the phrase the 'great Australian silence', addressing the culture of denial or 'conscious forgetting' regarding the history Australia since European arrival.
This reprint of On Aboriginal Religion pays tribute to the ongoing relevance of Stanner's work. His research into Aboriginal religion was first published as a series of articles in the journal Oceania between 1959 and 1963. In 1963 the articles were published as the collection in as Oceania Monograph 11, which was later reprinted as a facsimile edition with introductory sections by Francesca Merlan and Les Hiatt (1989).
As Stanner writes in his introduction to the 1963 collection, 'I thought I should take Aboriginal religion as significant in its own right and make it the primary subject of study, rather than study it, as was done so often in the past, mainly to discover the extent to which it expressed or reflected facts and preoccupations of the social order'. It is this dedication to recording the beliefs and observing the practice of Aboriginal religion that has made this monograph so important.
Francesca Merlan is a professor of anthropology at Australian National University.
L.R. Hiatt (1931–2008) was an anthropologist and scholar specialising in Australian Aboriginal studies.
W.E.H. Stanner (1905–1981) was an Australian anthropologist who worked extensively with Indigenous Australians, especially peoples of Daly River and Port Keats in the Northern Territory.
Note to the 2014 edition by Peter White
On Aboriginal religion: an appreciation by Francesca Merlan
On Aboriginal religion: Stanner’s work by L.R. Hiatt
Introduction by W.E.H. Stanner
2. Sacramentalism, rite and myth
3. Symbolism in the higher rites
4. The design-plan of a riteless myth
5. The design-plans of mythless rites
6. Cosmos and society made correlative
'This new issue is perhaps proof enough: in more senses than one, On Aboriginal Religion defies being put down. It is good to be able to find it again.'
John Morton Oceania
Size: 210 × 148 × 19 mm
6 b&w tables and 7 b&w illustrations
Copyright: © 2014
Publication: 19 Feb 2014