Shrug Off the Old Lies: Writing Decoloniality in and Through Critical Autoethnograhy with Helene Cixous

  • Elizabeth Mackinlay
Part of the Creativity, Education and the Arts book series (CEA)


“Shrug off the old lies, dare what you don’t dare … rejoice, rejoice in the terror, follow it where you’re afraid to go … take the plunge, you’re on the right trail!” (1991, 40) urges Hélène  Cixous. This chapter takes up Cixous’ refusal to oblige and reproduce the colonial system in writing in an attempt to un/re/entangle autoethnographic writing practices in and around the colonial moment in which we find ourselves. In this paper I take poetic and performative approach to bring myself and Hélène  Cixous into conversation to embody and project a dissonance with the colonial status quo to ‘shrug off the old lies’ and explore and experience what critical autoethnographic writing as decoloniality will do. Cixous’ insistence that writing be dangerous, affective and material all at once holds much hope for a critical, ethical, response-able yet resistant and decolonial autoethnography.



I want to acknowledge that this chapter was written while sitting on the lands of the Jagera and Turrbal first nations peoples of Brisbane with the love of my Yanyuwa family sitting close by and I pay my respects to both. To Jemima a-Wuwarlu Miller, Dinah a-Marrngawi Norman, Annie a-Karrakyan Isaac, Eileen a-Manankurrmara McDinny and Rosie a-Makurndurna Noble, this book has only been possible because of your patience, generosity, love and wisdom.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth Mackinlay
    • 1
  1. 1.University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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