Rewriting Australian Literature single work   criticism  
Issue Details: First known date: 2011 2011
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'There are those of us who are trying to rethink the place of Australian literature in our lives, as readers and writers, students and teachers, and as participants in this society and culture. It's happening from different angles: in the academy, in literary studies, cultural studies, and Australian studies, including Australian history, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and in research frameworks; in secondary and primary education, locally and nationally; and in the public domain. It's also happening internationally, through translation, and in the many different spaces where Australian literature might have meaning. Meaning, of course, is a first question and the meanings of both 'Australian' and 'literature' are fluid and routinely contested. Coupling the terms only increased the questioning, raising the stakes to beg the question of whether it is meaningful or necessary to talk about Australian literature at all. What is it? Does it exist? Does it matter anymore, or any differently from any other kind of literature, simply because we happen to be in Australia? Does it have a privileged claim on our attention, or, if it does, is that suspect? Each part of the coupling comes with hefty baggage. 'Australian' brings the national, the nation and the nationalistic, identity and belonging, history and culture, citizenship and inclusion/exclusion. 'Literature' brings not only the literary, but also language, and literacy, questions of reading and writing, and teaching and learning in relation to reading and writing. In particular it brings, for my purposes here, those approaches and practices known as 'creative writing' that in recent decades have entered subject English and more broadly the business of how literature is made is made in our society. 'Creative writing' is an infelicitous term, perhaps, but one we're stuck with, understood as something with many manifestations, widespread popularity and its own complex institutional history. Discussion of these things - creative writing and Australian literature in the curricular context - joins with larger debates about our education and contemporary culture that tend, paradoxically, to adopt a rhetoric of embattlement while taking for granted the importance of both related fields. It is surprising that, in a neoliberal, technocratic, metric-managed world, reading, writing and creativity should retain such power and loom so large.' (Author's abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y Teaching Australian Literature : From Classroom Conversations to National Imaginings Brenton Doecke (editor), Larissa McLean-Davies (editor), Philip Mead (editor), Kent Town : Wakefield Press Australian Association for the Teaching of English , 2011 Z1851330 2011 anthology criticism 'What role should Australian literature play in the school curriculum? What principles should guide our selection of Australian texts? To what extent should concepts of the nation and a national identity frame the study of Australian writing? What do we imagine Australian literature to be? How do English teachers go about engaging their students in reading Australian texts?

    This volume brings together teachers, teacher educators, creative writers and literary scholars in a joint inquiry that takes a fresh look at what it means to teach Australian literature. The immediate occasion for the publication of these essays is the implementation of The Australian Curriculum: English, which several contributors subject to critical scrutiny. In doing so, they question the way that literature teaching is currently being constructed by standards-based reforms, not only in Australia but elsewhere.

    The essays assembled in this volume transcend the divisions that have sometimes marred debates about the place of Australian literature in the school curriculum. They all recognise the complexity of what secondary English teachers do in their efforts to engage young people in a rich and meaningful curriculum. They also highlight the need for both secondary and tertiary educators to cultivate an awareness of the cultural and intellectual traditions that mediate their professional practice and to encourage a critically responsive pedagogy.' (Publisher's blurb)
    Kent Town : Wakefield Press Australian Association for the Teaching of English , 2011
    pg. 95-107
Last amended 16 Apr 2013
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