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Writing and Justice (ASLT2617)
Semester 1 / 2010

Texts

form y separately published work icon Letters to Ali Clara Law , Eddie Fong Ling-Ching , ( dir. Clara Law ) Australia : Madman Cinema , 2004 Z1573017 2004 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units) An 'average' Australian family decides to help in a small way by writing to Ali, a fifteen-year-old Afghan boy detained at Port Hedland, unaccompanied by any relatives. This letter would prove to be the catalyst for a three-year on-going battle with Australian authorities to get Ali, then a minor, out of detention. Filmmakers Clara Law and Eddie Fong contacted Trish in September 2002 after reading the newspaper story and decided to make a film about Ali's case.
y separately published work icon The Marsh Birds Eva Sallis , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2005 Z1184434 2005 single work novel (taught in 2 units) 'Dhurgham As-Samarra'i is a twelve-year-old boy, the youngest child in a middle-class Baghdadi family. He finds himself at the Great Mosque in Damascus in Syria, not knowing what has happened to his parents and sister who fled Baghdad with him. The only thing he knows is that he was told that if the family became separated they were to meet at the Mosque. Alone, he waits and waits. This is the story of what befalls Dhurgham after he realises his family won't be turning up; it is the story of his journey into adulthood, his journey through bitterness to forgiveness, and his journey from Iraq to Syria, to Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Detained after arriving in Australia, Dhurgham, resilient yet unable to deal with his past, becomes an untried criminal existing in limbo as his file is processed. Fleetingly, New Zealand offers a refuge, family and affection but he is caught again in a nightmare of red-tape and confinement until his hope turns into anger and his past must be faced and resolved. What do you do when you belong nowhere, with no family, no homeland, and no hope for the future? Who do you become?' (Source: publisher website.)
y separately published work icon Just Words? : Australian Authors Writing for Justice Bernadette Brennan (editor), St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2008 Z1472207 2008 anthology criticism essay (taught in 2 units) 'In this powerful collection, Australian writers including Gail Jones, Eva Sallis and Frank Brennan explore the relationship between writing and justice, a relationship utterly dependent on informed, ethical readers. These essays - from poets, essayists, academics, playwrights, critics and novelists - demonstrate how it is possible for writing to articulate concerns of justice, enlighten the broader community and move citizens to action.' (Publisher's blurb)
y separately published work icon Another Country Asylum; Outsiders Rosie Scott (editor), Thomas Keneally (editor), Broadway : Halstead Press , 2004 Z1208620 2004 anthology poetry autobiography prose diary correspondence (taught in 2 units) Comprises part of Southerly volume 64, number 1, 2004.
Crime and Punishment!$!Dostoyevsky, F!$! !$!New Penguin Classics!$!
Stolen Jane Harrison , Strawberry Hills : Currency Press Playbox Theatre , 1998 Z297208 1998 single work drama (taught in 7 units)
— Appears in: アボリジニ戯曲選 : ストールン; 嘆きの七段階 2001;

Stolen is based upon the lives of five Indigenous people, who go by the names of Sandy, Ruby, Jimmy, Anne and Shirley, who dealt with the issues for forceful removal by the Australian government.

y separately published work icon Joe Cinque's Consolation Helen Garner , Sydney : Pan Macmillan Australia , 2004 Z1132428 2004 single work prose (taught in 26 units)

'In October 1997 a clever young law student at ANU made a bizarre plan to murder her devoted boyfriend after a dinner party at their house. Some of the dinner guests - most of them university students - had heard rumours of the plan. Nobody warned Joe Cinque. He died one Sunday, in his own bed, of a massive dose of rohypnol and heroin. His girlfriend and her best friend were charged with murder. Helen Garner followed the trials in the ACT Supreme Court. Compassionate but unflinching, this is a book about how and why Joe Cinque died. It probes the gap between ethics and the law; examines the helplessness of the courts in the face of what we think of as 'evil'; and explores conscience, culpability, and the battered ideal of duty of care.' (Source: Pan Macmillan website)

Garner takes 'a deliberately subjective and "literary" approach' to her material with an 'emphasis on a sympatheitic authorial persona as the source of the reader's perspective' (Susan Lever 'The Crimes of the Past: Anna Funder's Stasiland and Helen Garner's Joe Cinque's Consolation'. Paper delivered at the Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) conference 2006).

Description

This unit is designed to encourage students to consider some of the ways writers and filmmakers address issues of moral, legal and social justice. Beginning with consideration of Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment it goes on to explore how various forms of writing - essays, poetry, fiction, non-fiction - and film seek to intervene in current political and ethical discussions occurring at a national and international level.

Assessment

One mid-semester essay (2000 wds:30%); one end-semester essay (4000 wds:70%)

Other Details

Offered in: 2008
Current Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Levels: Undergraduate
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