Black Seed Dreaming: A Material Analysis of Bruce Pascoe’s “Dark Emu”


  • Barbara Glowczewski CNRS (Centre Nationale Recherche Scientifique) & Collège de France, France
  • Anita Lundberg (Trans.) James Cook University, Australia



Indigenous cosmology, cosmovisions, Dreaming, Aboriginal Australia, Animist materialism, Tropical Materialisms


Indigenous Australians are outstanding for the way their ontologies and practices do not rely on a Western dichotomy that opposes material and spiritual realms. Their multiple totemic visions of the Dreaming space-time always state a material actualisation in landscape and the reproduction of all forms of life based on the pluriversal agency of animals, plants, minerals, rain, wind, fire and stars. Such cosmovisions resonate with current debates in the fields of critical posthumanism and new materialism through an Animist materialism. Indeed, Indigenous Australian’s complex social practices offer ways of thinking and being for the whole planet in this time of climate crisis. This is particularly crucial for the tropical world which is so strongly impacted by climate change. Indigenous Australian cosmovisions offer to tropical studies a way of thinking politically about climate and the materiality of life. Thus, Tropical Materialisms are enhanced by the vast body of Indigenous experiences and creative productions in and beyond the tropics. The material analysis of the Aboriginal author Bruce Pascoe’s Dark Emu, demonstrates how the book dared to challenge the Western written history, and to show a new relationality of being of humans with the more-than-human world.

Author Biographies

Barbara Glowczewski, CNRS (Centre Nationale Recherche Scientifique) & Collège de France, France

Professor Barbara Glowczewski is a Distinguished Professorial Researcher (DRCE) with the CNRS (French National Scientific Research Centre), awarded the CNRS Silver Medal of 2018. She works in Paris at the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Sociale of the Collège de France and teaches at the EHESS (Advance School of Social Sciences) where she supervises PhD students. She has been doing regular fieldwork with Indigenous people in Australia since 1979. From this research she has published twelve books and numerous academic articles in French and English. She has also edited books and produced award-winning multimedia work on art, ritual and Indigenous knowledge.

Anita Lundberg (Trans.), James Cook University, Australia

Associate Professor Anita Lundberg is a cultural anthropologist. Her interdisciplinary ethnographies – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia – explore the intertwinings of nature and culture. Her thinking is informed by material poetics, film ethnography, and environment. Anita has won awards and held fellowships: LIA TransOceanik (CNRS, JCU, Collége de France); The Cairns Institute; Evans Fellow, Cambridge University, UK; Guest Researcher, Maison Asie-Pacifique, Université de Provence, France; Visiting Fellow, Institute of the Malay World and Civilization, National University Malaysia; and Anthropologist-in-Residence, Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia. She has published extensively in academic journals, editing numerous Special Issues. Anita has curated exhibitions in NY, LA, Paris and Sydney, and her own research has been exhibited at the Australian National Maritime Museum, the National Art Gallery of Malaysia and Alliance de Française. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow, Cambridge University, UK, has a PhD in Anthropology, and an MA in Science & Technology Studies. Anita lives in Bali.


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How to Cite

Glowczewski, B., & Lundberg (Trans.), A. (2022). Black Seed Dreaming: A Material Analysis of Bruce Pascoe’s “Dark Emu”. ETropic: Electronic Journal of Studies in the Tropics, 21(2), 77–94.