Only literary material within AustLit's scope individually indexed. Other material in this issue includes:
Beyond the Heroic Stereotype: Sidney Jeffryes and the Mythologising of Australian Antarctic History Elizabeth Leane, Ben Maddison and Kimberley Norris
The Stealthing Panic: Gendered Neoliberalism in Online Media Ashley Thomson
‘Who Speaks for Culture?’ Challenging Gender and Sexual Violence in Māori and Pacific Island Literature in English Chris Prentice
‘There is no Female Word for Busha in These Parts’: Zora Neale Hurston, Katherine Dunham and the Battle for Research Supremacy in 1930s Haiti and Jamaica Sascha Morrell
Review of The Plant Contract, by Prudence Gibson by Michael Richardson
''In the 20th century the ekphrastic conversation between seeing and saying, betwern opis and lexis, really begins to swing (and I use the jazz metaphor advisedly).
'Both visual and literary artists experimented with new languages, languages of fragmentation and reassembly born of cinema and experimental photography, telegraphy and radio, newspapers and advertising, of the shocking impact of industrial weaponry during the Great War, of the discomfiting interpretation of dreams in psychoanalysis, and of the awful reimagining of the physical universe in Einstein’s theories of relativity. Dada and surrealism’s clipped dialect of collage merged with the literary avant-garde’s symbolist, free verse and stream-of consciousness tendencies to form a coherent (or deliberately incoherent) cultural domain.' (Introduction)
'Seven-year old Jakelin Caal, a Maya Indigenous girl from Guatemala, died in the custody of the US Border Patrol after she and her father crossed the southern US border into the United States. Results of her medical autopsy have not yet been made public but if we excavate the historical and politico-economic circumstances that culminated in her untimely death, we get a picture that implicates many more actors and conditions than those that an individualised medical examination can reveal.
'Indeed, if we follow the lead of the authors in this special section of the Australian Humanities Review, we can begin to untangle the deep and broad structural links that result in the physical death of many or in the ‘slow death’ (Galtung 1969) of millions of vulnerable individuals, especially women, around the world. We can begin to understand that the precarity of life in remote corners of the world is intimately linked to the tastes and lifestyles of the inhabitants of wealthier societies, as extractive industries are eroding subsistence agriculture and amplifying the vulnerabilities of rural (and urban) dwellers.' (Introduction)
We live in a mobile world characterised by the mass movement of people - both voluntary and involuntary—on an unprecedented scale. One billion people cross borders every year and international migrants account for 3 percent of the world’s population (Standing 90). This diversity is reflected in the Australian population where one in every four workers is a migrant (Standing 90). Roanna Gonsalves’ collection of stories The Permanent Resident (2016) focuses on the so-called ‘second wave’ of Indian immigration to Australia from the 1990s onwards and reflects the ways in which migration impacts one particular community in Australia, namely the Goan Catholic community.1 While one reviewer qualified her whole-hearted praise of Gonsalves’ book with the reservation that, in their focus on Goan Catholics, the stories were ‘limited to one tiny subset of the Indian community’ (Prakash n.p.), I suggest that this targeted focus allows Gonsalves to drill down into the racialised, gendered, class, religious and historical specificities of this community as it negotiates its position(s) within the post-settler white nation. If in this process Gonsalves critiques racialised power relations between the dominant culture and minoritised peoples within the white nation, her fiction also excavates power hierarchies and complicities within the diaporic Goan community. In turn, situating the Goan community as embodying one of the many histories of migration in Australia, this essay takes up literary theorist Jumana Bayeh’s call to theorise minoritised literatures in Australia through the concept of diaspora in order to counteract and challenge the operations of racism in the public sphere. Bayeh quotes Stuart Hall’s comment that ‘diaspora identities are those that are constantly producing and reproducing themselves anew, through transformation and difference’ (Bayeh 85) to argue that the concepts of diaspora and transnationalism can provide an antidote to racial essentialism (Bayeh 85). In their focus on ‘transformation and difference’, Gonsalves’ stories investigate the ways in which migrants remake themselves and develop many different forms of belonging (both to the post-settler Australian nation and to their countries and cultures of origin) as they insert themselves into Australian suburbia. The stories thereby challenge fixed and essentialist categories of race and whiteness in their exploration of the production and reproduction of diasporic identity and subjectivity. In its thematising of diaspora and transnationalism, The Permanent Resident contributes to and extends both the transnational history of Australian literature and the global field of diasporic South Asian literature.' (Introduction)
Australian cinema has a long history of depicting violent men: from Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff, 1971), Mad Dog Morgan (Philippe Mora, 1976) and Mad Max (George Miller, 1979) in the 1970s, Romper Stomper (Geoffrey Wright, 1992), Blackrock (Steven Vidler, 1997) and The Boys (Rowan Woods, 1998) in the 1990s, to Wolf Creek (Greg McLean, 2005) and Snowtown (Justin Kurzel, 2011) in the 2000s. Throughout this period, Australian cinema has paid exclusive attention to men’s violence: vigilantes, petty criminals and troubled young men in the suburbs. Felicity Holland and Jane O’Sullivan declare that these ‘lethal larrikin’ films are in discussion with concepts of Australian masculinity, ‘questioning and subverting a number of almost iconic assumptions about power, powerlessness, and violence in Australian masculine culture’ (79). In recent years, however, there has been a small but impactful cluster of films that show women acting violently, too. Suburban Mayhem (Paul Goldman, 2006), Animal Kingdom (David Michôd, 2011) and Hounds of Love (Ben Young, 2016) all contain female characters who exhibit intensely violent behaviour, committing (or conspiring to commit) acts of homicide and murder. While critics have examined men’s brutality extensively, Australian women’s aggression has not been considered in the same way (Butterss; Heller-Nicholas; Holland and O’Sullivan; O’Brien; Villella). Female violence in Australian cinema is a new and unanswered question. (Introduction)
'The short story genre is particularly well suited to capturing ‘fragmentation, displacement, diaspora and identity’, according to Maggie Awadalla and Paul March-Russell (3). This claim seems to be borne out in a number of recent collections of Australian short stories by writers of nonmainstream backgrounds whose stories focus on exactly these issues. Examples include Nam Le’s The Boat (2008), Roanna Gonsalves’s The Permanent Resident (2016), Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil (2014) and Tara June Winch’s After the Carnage (2016), the latter being the focus of this essay. All of these writers display an awareness in their stories of ‘entangled histories that precede and exceed imperial and national formations’, to quote Dilip M. Menon (38). Menon, writing about the Global South and using Édouard Glissant’s term, ‘archipelagic thinking’, coined in relation to the Caribbean, further explicates this kind of thinking as generative of ‘maps of affinities’ that recognise ‘the fact that identities are conjunctural and oscillate between narrower and wider imaginings … between local identities and international ones’ (40). This essay takes up the concept of alliances and ‘maps of affinities’ as they are represented in and by Winch’s short story collection. Winch is an Indigenous Australian writer of Wiradjuri, Afghan, and English heritage who is now based in France. Even this brief biographical information draws attention to the mobility of contemporary global identities and the shifting nature of national identification. Winch’s own physical distance from Australia (she currently lives in Europe) has, she has suggested in an interview, been helpful for her writing, enabling an outsider’s view that has involved ‘searching for [her] story amongst other people’s stories’ (‘After the Carnage’ n.p.). In dialogue with these fluid national identities and entangled histories are issues of intersectionality where race, class and gender impact on the themes of violence, disadvantage and precarity that bring different minoritised constituencies into proximity with each other. Winch, I argue, thematises the ways in which violence, gender, race, class and precarity may be seen to be intertwined. At the same time, her stories reveal moments of survival and resilience in the precarious lives of their characters. In writing not just of the Australian nation but also of the transnation(al), her stories draw attention to cross-cultural affiliations as well as to the ongoing inequalities that beset marginalised groups. Menon’s concept of ‘maps of affinities’ is thus a useful lens through which to view these stories. This term aptly engages the ways in which Winch, in this collection, addresses the ‘conjunctural’ (40) interactions between the global and local, reminding readers of the ongoing global after-effects of colonisation, and the ways in which violence and survival are common to both.' (Introduction)