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ancestral, corporeal, corporate Arrow vol 7 no 2 contents
About borderlands VOLUME 7 NUMBER 2, 2008


Ancestral, Corporeal, Corporate:
Traditional Yolnu Understandings of the Body Explored

Aaron Corn
The University of Sydney


This article explores the various ways in which the Yolnu of northeast Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory traditionally perceive of bodies, whether corporeal or corporate. It establishes how Yolnu understand the human body, its environments and its behaviours as phenomena that are modeled on archetypal ancestral designs for life, and shows how Yolnu nomenclature for human anatomy is used as a meta-language to describe the significances of features on country and in traditional modes of performance. It further explains how the Yolnu concept of the body corporate is related to an ethos of recognition and sharing between different peoples under a common constitution and law, and demonstrates how the music of the Australian band, Yothu Yindi, uses this traditional symbolism to express ideals of sharing and common humanity among different peoples from around the world.

A full copy of the article is available as a PDF document: click here.

© borderlands ejournal 2008



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ISSN 1447-0810