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Alternative title: Peripheral Visions
Issue Details: First known date: 2019... no. 57 October 2019 of TEXT Special Issue est. 2000 TEXT Special Issue Website Series
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Official language smitheryed to sanction ignorance and preserve privilege is a suit of armor polished to shocking glitter, a husk from which the knight departed long ago. Yet there it is: dumb, predatory, sentimental. Exciting reverence in schoolchildren, providing shelter for despots, summoning false memories of stability, harmony among the public. (Morrison 1993)

'These lines, drawn from novelist, essayist, and teacher Toni Morrison’s 1993 Nobel lecture, offer a vivid description of the kinds of rhetoric dominating our public, professional, and even our cultural spaces today, although the cracks are beginning to show, and we would be hard pressed to claim that ‘harmony’ prevails.' (Deborah Hunn, Ffion Murphy, Catherine Noske and Anne Surma, Introduction)


  • Only literary material within AustLit's scope individually indexed. Other material in this issue includes: 

    Contemplating language as ‘an edge that never arrives’ in Emily Dickinson’s poetry by Mags Webster (Murdoch University)

    Narrative inquiry, creative nonfiction and two braided stories of the rehabilitation and release of orang-utans in Sebuyau, Sarawak by Christina YinChristina Amanda Yin (Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak Campus, University of Nottingham Malaysia)

    A common space: translation, transcreation, and drama The case of the English translation of the French play, On Arthur Schopenhauer’s Sledge by Yasmina Reza by Vivienne Glance and Hélène Jaccomard (University of Western Australia


* Contents derived from the 2019 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Peripheral Knowledge and Feeling: the Perimeters Poems, Paul Hetherington , Cassandra Atherton , single work criticism
'A great deal of what any of us know and feel is elusive, and much of what we ‘know’ is at the periphery of consciousness. Sometimes this (often subversive) knowledge or feeling is composed of nearly inaccessible memory material; sometimes it consists of bodily knowledge still being formed into mental concepts and searching for the language in which it may be expressed. This knowledge is often situated on the outskirts of our usual modes of apprehension and – to the extent that we access it at all – is experienced as an intuition, intimation, mood, hint, inkling, suggestion or glimpse. In the right circumstances, writers are able to bring such knowledge into their creative compositions – and, indeed, there is occasionally a sense that art is the medium that finally permits its full expression. As a way of exploring some of our ‘peripheral’ knowledge through an intuitive creative process, in early 2018 we embarked on a collaborative project to write prose poems (which we exchanged as text messages) exploring the idea of perimeters. To date we have produced a series of prose poems for this ongoing collaborative project.' (Publication abstract)
‘A Body in Time’ : Reading and Writing Australian Literature, Belinda Castles , single work criticism
'In the press, a lament for the study of Australian literature is often coupled with mistrust at the popularity of creative programs. It can be disconcerting for writers and teachers of writing in Australia, who work in a practical as well as pedagogical sense in the field of Australian literature, to be placed in an antithetical position to it. One response to the narrative of the decline of Australian literature in universities has been an assertion of its ‘embeddedness’ across the curriculum. The creative writing classroom is one place in which it can reliably be found, and the act of reading for the purpose of writing brings a distinctive charge to the study of Australian literature, produced by a movement across modal peripheries. This essay argues, via a ‘body in time’ (Jose 2011) model of Australian literature, and a reading of the novella Vertigo by Amanda Lohrey (2009), that the key elements of process and proximity in this mode of reading make a distinctive contribution to the study of Australian literature.' (Publication abstract)
Writing on Common Ground : the Lyric Essay as a Decolonising Form, Christine Howe , single work criticism
'Is it possible for Australian settler writers to decolonise their writing, and if so, what form might this writing take? This paper explores the challenges facing settler writers who wish to respectfully acknowledge the sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to participate in the movement towards a ‘fair and truthful relationship’ (‘Uluru statement from the heart’ 2017). The value of the lyric essay as a poetic form that resists straightforward answers – but rather allows for links to be drawn between the past and the present, complicity and healing, and the land and our experience of it – is explored.' (Publication abstract)
Relational Ethics : Writing about Birds; Writing about Humans, Joshua Lobb , single work criticism
'Philip Armstrong points out that scholars in Animal Studies are ‘interested in attending not just to what animals mean to humans, but what they mean to themselves; that is, to the ways in which animals might have significances, intentions and effects quite beyond the designs of human beings’ (2008: 2). This essay asks: what are the ethics of representing birds in fiction? It promotes the model offered by Linda Alcoff in ‘The Problem of Speaking for Others’ (1992). Alcoff offers a set of ‘interrogatory practices’ for writers, including an analysis of our speaking position to expose any implicit discourses of domination at work, and, most importantly, a consideration for the effects of ‘speaking for’ on actual animals. Using Alcoff’s interrogatory practices as a framework, I examine the ways writers have allowed for ‘ethical relationships’ between humans and birds in fictional spaces. I investigate the function of birds as metaphor in three Australian novels: Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book (2013), Evie Wyld’s All the Birds, Singing (2013) and Catherine McKinnon’s Storyland (2017). In each of these, birds serve a symbolic function but are also given space to allow for their own experiences, voices, and knowledges. I will also reflect on the attempts I have made in my own novel, The Flight of Birds (2019), to grapple with the discourses of power at work and the impact of that power on the lives of real birds.' (Publication abstract)
Advanced Diarology : Mortification, Materiality and Meaning-making, Stayci Taylor , Kim Munro , Peta Murray , single work criticism
'Public diary-reading events, arguably originating in the USA in 2002, continue to draw participants eager to share their teenage angst and juvenilia, yet there is little scholarly reflection on this peripheral practice of performative writing. Having birthed our own version in 2017 – within the safe harbour of the academy and using an intuitive, practice-based methodology – we believe there are some useful questions to pose about the autoethnographic contributions of this mortification rite. Eighteen months in, we are further moved to ask, what is happening in the presentational and performative space as we show our younger selves to one another as we have, and do? This article, a follow-up to our previous Diarology for beginners (2019), formally reiterates on the page the associative leaps and communal meaning-making arising from our explorations so far. Prompted by questions, such as, ‘Is the practice of diary keeping inherently gendered? Is it about becoming visible? Audible? Memorable? What? And what is the impulse to publicly share the archives?’ (Munro, Murray and Taylor 2019), we draw on the literature around diary keeping, as well as theories on voice, gender and creative autoethnography, as a way into understanding diary performing and the public sharing of juvenile shame.' (Publication abstract)
Macbeth of Kelantan, Emily Sun , single work short story
Creative Duoethnography : A Collaborative Methodology for Arts Research, Amelia Walker , Corinna Di Niro , single work criticism
'Duoethnography is a dialogic methodology originally developed for social, health, and educational research (Sawyer & Norris 2015). In duoethnography, co-researchers actively question both their collaborator(s) and themselves, seeking to reperceive issues from different angles, thereby looking to and beyond the peripheries of what is known and how. Our essay argues the benefits of duoethnography for creative arts research. Drawing on our reading of relevant scholarly literature, and on learning gleaned through past and ongoing duoethnographic collaborations, we begin by considering collaborative research writing broadly, including related and alternative approaches. Then we outline duoethnography’s history and defining features, before relating our use of duoethnography in our collaborative research. A key feature of our approach is that we weave scenes with fictionalised characters into our main duoethnographic dialogue. In this article, we share our process, intending to provide insights relevant to creative arts academics also interested in collaborative research approaches.' (Publication abstract)
Thresholds of Change, Pam Blamey , Elena Volkova , single work criticism
'Preparation for and recovery from breast cancer surgery can be a layered process, involving intra- and inter-personal activities and reflection. There is evidence of the efficacy of these processes for recovery and survival. This research looks at how, on an intra-personal level, journaling, poetry writing and self-prescribed bibliotherapy boded well for recovery. On an inter-personal level, ritual with friends and digital story-making also assisted recovery. Indeed, these experiences may be helpfully shared with others in the same predicament.'

 (Publication abstract)

The Other Writing Group : An Embodied Workshop, Vahri McKenzie , single work criticism
'New insights and approaches to creative activity grounded in embodiment have the potential to enhance creative writing practices by focusing on the embodied dimensions of writing, such as undertaking whole organism warm-ups, and attending to the material set-up of a workshop. This article presents findings from a pilot research project called The Other Writing Group that offered a structure for writers to explore embodied strategies in a community of peers. The structure employed by the group owes its origins to dance researcher Nancy Stark Smith’s Underscore, a collaborative creative model for practising and researching improvisation. It is argued that embodied and social approaches to writing, more usually associated with performing arts, can critique notions of the writer as virtuoso and innovator, and instead present repetition and habit as significant in a fuller account of productive practice. Feedback and reflections from participants in the group suggest that approaches to practice which emphasise social and embodied dimensions can enhance individual creative writing practice.'

 (Publication abstract)

Peripheries and Praxis : The Effect of Rubric Co-construction on Student Perceptions of Their Learning, Carolyn Rickett , Sue Joseph , Maria Northcote, , Beverly J Christian , John Seddon , single work criticism
'The construction of assessment rubrics is often educator-centric as lecturers work in isolation to compose grading tools. While there is a pedagogical goal to construct instruments that align with learning outcomes and guide the assessment of students’ learning, students are often at the periphery of this process. In many higher education institutions, students are accustomed to receiving assessment feedback but they are not, typically, active participants in the feedback cycle. Increasingly, institutions are seeking evidence of greater student engagement in their tertiary learning experience. Accordingly, academics seek to innovate practice and enhance curricula by creating more opportunities for student involvement, thus creating a shared understanding of it and associated assessment tasks. Responding to a gap in rubric construction practice, this paper discusses an Office for Learning and Teaching Innovation and Development Grant research project where students moved from being rubric users to being central participants in collaborative design. Drawing on data collected from a team of rubric co-constructors from one Sydney university campus – first year students and an academic in a creative non-fiction writing subject – we set out to answer the following question: What effect does the co-construction and use of rubrics have on students’ perceptions of their learning?' (Publication abstract)
Investigating Candidates’ Research Experience beyond the Thesis : the Peripheral World of the Doctorate, Donna Lee Brien , Alison Owens , Craig Batty , Elizabeth Ellison , single work criticism
'This article focuses on both the process and the results of a recently completed research project that concentrated on what are commonly seen as peripheral aspects of the doctorate; that is, aspects of candidature that lie beyond, and outside of, the core work of what is widely understood to be research training. The project saw 18 candidates from the creative arts and humanities – and creative writing in particular – gather to reflect upon their learning journeys, and then analyse and theorise the ‘human’ dimensions of undertaking a doctorate. These often peripheral aspects were revealed to have a major influence on undertaking a research degree, as well as affecting candidates’ progress and satisfaction with their studies, and career potential beyond the research degree. This article first outlines how candidates were able to develop a language with which to identify some of the major human dimensions – the lived experience – of undertaking a doctorate that emerged from the project. It then explores how candidates were able to articulate their own growth in the form of producing an edited collection of essays in order that others might benefit from this reflective learning.'

 (Publication abstract)

Disrupting Leaps of Experience: Digital Storyworlds, Transformative Poiesis/Praxis and Narrative Agency, Karen Le Rossignol , single work criticism

'Entering the digital storyworld of Deakinopolis (a narrative-based world of interrelated settings, characters and situations) is about imaginatively entering an alternative fictional storyworld that largely presents as factual, an experience that mirrors tertiary learners’ realities. Malouf talks of experience of story as ‘… being taken out of ourselves into the skin of another; having adventures there that are both our own and not our own ... Release … into a dimension where reality is not limited’ (2008: 19).

'The digital storyworld of Deakinopolis contains alternative or imagined realities, where learners project their own experience in making this world coherent through their engagement with potentially unsettling perspectives. To encourage agency in active learner exploration, the storyworld is suspended out of time and sequence so that participants can imagine themselves through lapsed borders into that seemingly peripheral world. The learners activate their immersive engagement in this digital storyworld through praxical experience of unsettling perspectives, with potential for disrupting singular perspectives into transformative immersion of imagination as poiesis.' (Publication abstract) 

Anxieties of Obsolescence and Transformation : Digital Technology in Contemporary Australian Literary Fiction, Julian Novitz , single work criticism

'When addressing the rise of mass media, literary authors of the late twentieth century often expressed an ‘anxiety of obsolescence’ (Fitzpatrick 2006) in their work: an acute awareness of being potentially displaced. This often led them to adopt an attitude of defiance in the face of technological change.

'Many contemporary literary authors adopt a similar oppositional attitude towards the rise and encroachment of networked technology, but retreating to the increasingly peripheral territory of ‘pure’ print-based literature is no longer easy. Digital technology presents not only the possibility of displacement but also that of transformation, with its spread threatening to fundamentally alter the practice of reading and writing.

'Possibly in response to the radical upheavals faced by Australian literary culture due to the rise of electronic publishing since 2012, recent works by three established Australian authors – Amnesia by Peter Carey (2014), the Wisdom Tree novella sequence by Nick Earls (2016), and The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser (2017) – examine the ways in which networked technologies challenge or complicate the role, identity and practice of the contemporary print-oriented writer. The telling connection is that they present the relationship between print-based writers and networked technology as being transformative rather than simply oppositional, demonstrating the emergence of complex and nuanced responses to the rise of networked technology in Australian literature.' (Publication abstract)

Anyhere, Out Where : Fantasy, Psychosis, and Writing Worlds, Daniel Baker , single work criticism
'Ursula Le Guin claimed that fantasy ‘is a different approach to reality, an alternative technique for apprehending and coping with existence’ (1979: 84). In 2015, I began work on a fantasy novel, A life in streets, and discovered that to write fantasy is to simultaneously exist in this world, that world, and the world of the keyboard. Consequently, the need to see and keep seeing an alternative vision of my past, present, and future realities is not without its illuminations, not without its spectres. Anchored by the work of Kathryn Hume, Rosemary Jackson, and Slavoj Žižek, this paper argues that Jackson’s paradigmatic positioning of marvellous or secondary-world fantasy as inherently non-subversive misses the mark. Moreover, her valorisation of the transgressive energies manifested by the literary fantastic seriously undervalues the transformative potential inherent to the construction of impossible, secondary worlds which, it could be said mimic something of a literary psychotic break: the articulation of an alternative reality involving a rejection of current forms of social authority and their subsequent reimagining in different developmental pathways. Significantly, such a revision of the genre, forces both reader and writer into an apprehensive position. That is, it requires that traditionally dismissive attitudes attached to criticism related to fantasy – escapism and regression, for example – be fundamentally re-examined.' (Publication abstract)
Out of Sight : The Censoring of Family Diversity in Picture Books, Sarah Mokrzycki , single work criticism
'Family diversity has long been censored, silenced, and ignored in Australian picture books. Despite its long running representation in books for older readers, the concept of exploring family diversity at picture book level remains nothing short of radical. Of the little available, much comes in the form of issue-driven books and from specialist presses overseas, presenting a distinct gap in Australian children’s literature. The contentious history of diversity in children’s books creates added issues in the struggle for representation, and diverse stories (and diverse authors) face ongoing challenges. Furthermore, public outrage at the ‘shunning’ of nuclear families, as well as society’s distorted understanding of what constitutes diversity, present further complications in the advocating for family-diverse stories. This essay will examine what it means to be a family, the issues surrounding family diversity in picture books, and why such books deserve to be championed.'

 (Publication abstract)

Genre and Gender : Reading Domestic Noir through the Lens of Feminist Criminology, Meg Vann , single work criticism
'The contemporary crime fiction trend of domestic noir evinces literary themes and features that align with biases and advancements in criminological research, most specifically in feminist understandings of women and violence. Using the methodology of criminologist Drew Humphries as a conceptual framework, I analyse Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies (2014) to explore how key concepts in feminist criminology addressing domestic violence, including Critical Feminist Theory and Social Learning Theory, are useful in a textual analysis. I then demonstrate how this understanding of the production and subversion of generic features in domestic noir can be useful to inform creative work, with reference to my thriller novella Girl Crazy (2019).' (Publication abstract)
Peripheral Hearing : ‘collaborative Audio Literature’ and the Uncanny, David McCooey , single work criticism
'This (self-exegetical) essay concerns ‘collaborative audio literature’, a form of asynchronous collaborative practice that brings together music, sound design, and literary texts. As a form of literary audio ‘content’, such a genre is peripheral to the mainstream audio literary genres of audio books and podcasts. Collaborative audio literature exists at the periphery of performance, literature, sound design, and music, as an experimental, interdisciplinary form. After a discussion of the relationship between music and sounded poetry, this essay discusses ‘Three Sisters’ (from my album The Double, 2017), an audio work based in part on Maria Takolander’s short story of that name (2013). In ‘Three Sisters’, I undertake an innovative form of adaptation that employs sampling and text-to-speech synthesis to place the newly produced text in a complex sonic field of music and sound design. The ‘un-performability’ of this piece (and others from The Double) is central to the work’s aesthetic, in which literature and music occupy virtual, peripheral spaces. The use of voices (synthetic and real) at the threshold of hearing also produces an aesthetic of ambiguity with regard to the usual predominance of words. ‘Three Sisters’, then, works with ambiguous, threshold spaces that test the limits of perception, authorship, genre, and the categories of literature and music themselves. The essay analyses my creative practice via the trope of the periphery-as-uncanny, a virtual space that evokes the disquieting interplay between the familiar and the unfamiliar.'

 (Publication abstract)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 14 Nov 2019 14:03:40