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Alternative title: The Next 80 Years
Issue Details: First known date: 2020... vol. 79 no. 4 Summer 2020 of Meanjin est. 1940 Meanjin
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In December's 80th birthday edition of Meanjin, writers address the edition's theme: The Next 80 Years.

'The issue opens with reflective contributions from all of Meanjin's living past editors. Tara June Winch and Behrouz Boochani offer a conversational meditation on time and the very notion of a future. Bruce Pascoe writes on the strange relationship non-Indigenous Australians have with trees, and wonders when we will realise that the forest is a friend. Jennifer Mills encounters ... herselves ... in a future archive. Peter Doherty sees a future world of worries-many of them viral-but settles on hope and the necessity of individual responsibility. Jess Hill wonders whether existing models of policing are fit for purpose in countering domestic abuse. Michael Mohammed Ahmad writes on whiteness and the idea of 'real Australians'. Jane Rawson looks at dramatic changes in Australian nature and wonders 'who belongs here?' And Raimond Gaita writes on the moral challenges that have been presented by Covid19 and the challenge to our future presented by Black Lives Matter and the quest for Indigenous sovereignty.' (Edition summary)


* Contents derived from the 2020 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Who Belongs Here?, Jane Rawson , single work essay

'Nature in Australia is a mess. There’s no need to go into details. You’ve seen it: the thousands of dead fish in drying rivers, three billion animals killed or displaced by bushfire, environmental legislation that privileges developers over endangered species. Up against all this are conservationists—scientists and activists slogging away in a losing battle to explain the size of the problem, to get laws changed, to stop a tree being felled or a mine being opened, to pluck species from the brink of destruction with monitoring and intervention.' (Introduction)

National Accounts : Meanjin, By Its Editors, Jonathan Green , Jim Davidson , Judith Brett , Jenny Lee , Christina Thompson , Stephanie Holt , Ian Britain , Sophie Cunningham , Sally Heath , Zora Sanders , single work essay
When We Talk About Time, Tara June Winch , Behrouz Boochani , single work essay
Challenge and Opportunity, Peter Doherty , single work essay

'At 80, I’m just a bit older than Meanjin.

'Born into the British Empire, we both started out in Brisbane where, in December 1940, journalist Clem Christesen AM OBE published the first Meanjin Papers. Days later (3 January 1941) the 6th Division of the 2nd AIF, which, like the 1st Australian Imperial Force of 1914–18, had been training in Palestine, engaged with Italian forces at Bardia, the first occasion where our ground troops were seriously committed in World War II. I’d arrived in the preceding October, the month in which the Battle of Britain ended. Some 35 Australian pilots (ten died) flew in that conflict over Will Shakespeare’s ‘sceptered isle’—this fortress built by nature for itself against infection and the hand of war—that my Essex-born, Brisbane-resident maternal grandparents, Bert and Emma Byford, still referred to as ‘home’.' (Introduction)

Is Domestic-Abuse Policing Fit For Purpose?, Jess Hill , single work essay

'In the six years I’ve been writing about domestic abuse, I’ve lost count of the horror stories victim-survivors have told me about police. I’ve also sat with many who say a cop saved their life.'  (Introduction)

Hating Trees, Bruce Pascoe , single work

'When did it start? When did men begin to think of trees as adornments to their pride or fortune?' (Introduction)

It’s Shit to Be White, Michael Mohammed Ahmad , single work essay

'I didn’t invent the White Australia Policy. White people invented it. And they invented it to distinguish themselves from Aboriginals, Africans, Asians, Arabs and Pasifikas. And they didn’t invent it to distinguish themselves in the negative; only in the positive, with greater rights to the stolen land on which they gathered than the rest of us. And while White people knew that they were not literally the colour white—most of their kind were somewhere between pink and beige—they did not seem confused about the term, fully aware that it referred to them and taking great pride in their sense of superiority over anyone that was ‘not quite White’. White people took no offence in White’s metaphorical nature, no offence in White’s overgeneralisation, and they did not seek out any of their dictionaries to double-check White’s definition.' (Introduction)

COVID, Quality and a Common World, Raimond Gaita , single work essay

'Rosemary Kayess broke her neck when she was 20, causing her to become a quadriplegic, able to move her head but unable to eat and drink unassisted. Now, at 57, she is associate director of the Disability Innovation Institute, chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and lectures in international law at the University of New South Wales. With other panellists she appeared on a recent edition of Q&A on ABC TV discussing loneliness. The chair, Hamish MacDonald, asked her how she felt when she heard discussions through this pandemic about critical care triaging systems. She replied that those discussions ‘hit her in the face’, that she realised she had become ‘collateral damage’, that she was no longer ‘real’ in the eyes of people who didn’t think themselves mortally vulnerable to COVID-19, and that she was ‘dispensable’. MacDonald was moved, as were other panellists and members of the audience.'  (Introduction)

2100 : After Neoliberalism, Toby Miller , single work essay
Face the Music, Karen Wyld , single work essay

'When asked to write a nonfiction piece for Meanjin’s 80th year, I welcomed the chance to finally channel my inner futurist. I began to imagine what Australia could look like in 80 years. Then I remembered how much I like to write about the past. So I envisioned an essay that looks back and forwards. And then I went to see a movie at the cinema.' (Introduction)

Consider the Library, Justine Hyde , single work essay

'September 2020. Melbourne is strangely quiet, streets nearly deserted. We are suspended in lockdown. All the libraries are closed. Parcels of new books stack up inside; the usual whirr of air conditioning and photocopiers is silent. The spaces normally packed with students, the elderly, readers, children and city workers sit empty. The book-return chutes are closed, overdue fines have been waived. Library staff are working from home or have been redeployed to other jobs. Librarians are a resourceful bunch; they have adapted to lockdown by moving children’s story-time sessions and English-language classes online. Library budgets have been shuffled to buy more ebooks, films and streaming audio content to answer the exponential surge in demand. Books have been posted out to eager readers stuck at home.' (Introduction)

Smoke Shift, Paul Collis , Alice Bishop , single work essay

'This essay is a 2020 collaboration between award-winning Barkindji poet and novelist Paul Collis and short story writer and essayist Alice Bishop, who has British background. Collis and Bishop became friends at the May 2019 Northern Territory Writers’ Festival and have been talking about writing, landscape, loss—and country music—ever since.'  (Introduction)

Hot, Crowded and Old, Bernard Keane , single work essay

'In 2020 Australia’s airports are empty and run on skeleton crews; aircraft are parked on tarmacs across the country, the border is shut to all but returning Australians and well-connected millionaires. We’re about to experience life in a low-migration scenario—lower demand, lower housing prices, lower growth, lower congestion—at least until the pandemic ends.' (Introduction)

More Than Opening the Door, Sam van Zweden , single work essay

'In her 2015 Sydney Review of Books article ‘What the essayist spills’, Maria Tumarkin draws a clear distinction between ‘confessor’ and ‘essayist’. The first is a writer who spills everything for an audience primed to receive and ‘learn’ from it. The latter sees their material as an entry to wider discussions; ‘smashing the bottom from underneath the author’s experiences’ and steering them into a place where the experiences are simply given space to breathe in an approach driven by curiosity.'  (Introduction)

A Love Letter to the Days of Future Past, Tim Dunlop , single work

'I was born in 1960, at the very start of that decade of change. I am part of what is sometimes called Generation Jones, essentially a Boomer, but too young to have dropped acid in the 1960s, and too old to be part of Generation X. I am therefore one of those people whose ’60s were really the ’70s, and for most of my life I have thought this meant I got the worst of both worlds. It was common, among my cohort, to feel that we had missed the good stuff. There was a sense something incredible had passed and that we would never see anything like it again.' (Introduction)

Future Tense, Nicola Redhouse , single work essay

'In 2019, pre-COVID, while I still had the fortune of teaching undergraduate short-story writing in a real classroom, I had one of those puzzling moments of atmospheric shift whose source you can’t pinpoint but which leaves you a little disrupted. I want to call it discord, though there was no argument. And to call it atmospheric is misleading for it was in me, this troubling feeling—a sense of being on the edge of understanding; as though in our conversation we were skirting around a surface meaning, while something hostile bristled at the edges.' (Introduction)

Universities and the Liberal Imagination, Glyn Davis , single work essay

'Every year an oration honours former Australian prime minister Sir Robert Menzies. Over decades, education leaders from Cambridge and Oxford, Harvard, Manchester and Dublin, alongside speakers from numerous Australian universities, have taken the platform to celebrate the role of Sir Robert Menzies in shaping Australia’s higher education.'  (Introduction)

Gravidity and Parity, Eleanor Jackson , single work essay

'On 11 March, World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus concluded his opening address for the COVID-19 pandemic media briefing with neat, alliterative tips for the world: ‘Prevention. Preparedness. Public health. Political leadership. And most of all, people.’ At the time I was listening to this announcement, a background murmur on the nearby radio, I was also peeing on a small plastic stick. Within minutes, I knew I was pregnant.'  (Introduction)

Heading to Somewhere Important, Martin Langford , single work essay

'During the past 80 years Australian poetry has developed some distinctive characteristics. In the next 80, however, will it survive our passion for narratives of enlargement?'  (Introduction)

Borders, Identity, Literature, Jumana Bayeh , single work essay

'In a previous issue of Meanjin, Winnie Dunn wrote, ‘A critically conscious reader can see Australia through the literature that is missing just as equally as they can through the literature that exists.’ For Dunn, the literature that is ‘missing’ is work by Australians from minority and migrant communities, Indigenous Australians and people of colour or those from non-Anglo backgrounds. While I do not disagree with Dunn, I’d like to suggest that a critically conscious reader—whether in Australia or elsewhere—will further ask: what is missing when we read literature as a reflection of national boundaries, as a site where national identity is represented and given narrative shape? This is an important but deeply challenging question since the field of literary studies has long used the nation to categorise fiction, and has explained literature’s function through its capacity to define a nation’s culture and identity.' (Introduction)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 16 Feb 2021 10:29:10