“Those old men who sing are our professors”. Songlines: esoteric knowledge or empirical data

John Bradley, Stephen Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


For many Indigenous peoples world wide the colonial process is not a historical “blip” in a moment of time. Western ways of knowing and viewing the place that Indigenous people might call home still contest and reduce complex ways of knowing to myth and so called subjective knowledge. Western ways of knowing are so strongly orientated towards the linear and the “empirical” and this helps support the hegemony of what might rightly be called scientific materialism. In this paper we explore how what the west might call the subjective experience is for the Yanyuwa people a powerful way of knowing and finding their place in their country and suggests that even now the West has not developed a skill set to really approach the kind of knowledge that is being discussed in this article.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalUNESCO Observatory Journal: Multi-disciplinary Research in the Arts
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Yanyuwa
  • song
  • epistemology
  • knowledge
  • country
  • scientific materialism

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