'This essay joins in the discussion about the future of national literatures in the shifting formations of globalisation. Specifically, I want to interrogate what we mean by the future when we speak of literature and, specifically, of Australian or New Zealand literature.
The essay proposes a literary cartography that overlays the alienation of this ‘no world’ with the ‘no-place’ of island utopias as they are mobilised in archipelagic chains or threads. This alternative model of spatial relationality and dynamism differs from conventional global traffic. It is a cartography derived from islands: from their history, fictions, and their theorists. This project is at least partly utopian in a strictly generic sense; that is, in its implication in the reading practices and politics of utopian texts.' (Author's abstract)
'Ideas and expectations about colonial space and the making and remaking of real places lie at the heart of the early Australian colonies. Over the past forty years, and especially in the last decade, scholars have recovered much of that lost world, a world of polyglot diversity, constant movement, economic social and cultural expansion, cross-cultural encounters, relationships and appropriations, extraordinary adaptations, myriad connections and overlaid human geographies.
'Yet in the later nineteenth century, the colonies were also profoundly shaped by discontinuities in memory, place and experience, as wave upon wave of new arrivals started new lives literally unaware of what had happened earlier, or how these places had come to be. The success of later settlers was built upon those earlier foundations, and yet false assumptions about ‘gaol colonies’ and ‘savages’, twinned with assertions of legitimate occupancy and entitlement, easily captured the narrative as well as the literal ground, and are still widespread in Australian historiography, popular history and heritage today.' (Author's abstract)
'Rebecca Walkowitz, citing Said and others, suggests that the critical cosmopolitanism inherent in the work of several British modernists was underpinned by an awareness (among other things) of “the entanglement of domestic and international perspectives” and an “attempt to operate in the world... while preserving a posture of resistance”. Cosmopolitan modernism in these kinds of ‘critical’ robes offers a useful space in which to examine the work of settler colonial expatriate woman modernists. In particular, this paper will investigate the powerful, disruptive and often uneven return to home ground in the shape of Stead and Mansfield’s modernist narratives about their provincial cities of origin on the Pacific Rim. This paper takes as its starting point Christina Stead’s early work, Seven Poor Men of Sydney (1934). While acknowledging the pressing complications of her identification with international socialism, what kind of interpretive traction do we gain by positing Stead’s participation in both Pacific and transnational modernism in her rendition of Sydney? Katherine Mansfield’s earlier New Zealand stories will provide further and quite different material for Tasman/Pacific oriented speculation about the nature of the expatriate modernist woman’s worldly recuperation of her colonial hometown.
' (Author's abstract)
'Outsider architecture references a continuum of unofficial constructions, from the tenuous envelope of found materials that a homeless person folds about themselves nightly, to the compellingly precarious sculptural artefact, painstakingly but illegally built, in a front garden or on public land. One way that the homeless deal with their vulnerability to harsh weather, psychological disturbance and lack of privacy is the construction of ad hoc shelters from found objects and recycled rubbish. These shelters represent one form of outsider architecture. Roger Cardinal notes that another form is the idiosyncratic construction of sculptural assemblages, also, typically from recycled materials, to form architectural structures, modified dwellings, landscaped areas, collections, monuments and shrines that seem to pop up in most cities, or anywhere there are people (169). All over the world, homeless people seek to provide at least temporary shelter for themselves, and at the same time, a certain number of people, sometimes the same people, engage in personal projects of construction in which the expression of individuality is as, if not more, important than physical containment or shelter.
'This article will consider the work of one author, Eve Langley, as a form of outsider architecture and will suggest that the physical entity formed by Langley’s novels, as a manifestation of outsider architecture, provided their author with the hope of psychic shelter when she wrote them. Langley wrote at a time in which it was difficult for a woman to succeed as an artist, or to support herself financially. As well, she experienced a dysfunctional marriage and suffered from uncertain health. Despite these difficult conditions, she wrote compulsively, sending manuscripts, one after another to her publishers, long after they had stopped publishing her work.
'Yet, the large body of unpublished manuscripts in the Mitchell speaks of more than the mental ill health that is frequently associated with Langley. Consideration of the debates active within the literary community of New Zealand at the time Langley was writing, and the nature and content of, in particular, her novelistic oeuvre, suggests that Langley may have been writing at least partly in response to local literary voices. Despite her peripatetic lifestyle and solipsistic tendencies, Langley was part of the community of writers living in New Zealand in the mid-twentieth century. Her writing was supported and criticised by it, and undoubtedly shaped by it. This article will consider the part this community played in Langley’s writing, the dual aspects of vulnerability and strength, feelings of alienation and centrality, exhibited in Langley’s authorial choices. By examining Langley’s body of work through the lens of outsider architecture, Langley’s prolific literary output in the face of a largely negative reception may be seen, not so much as the sign of a loss of control, but as a strategic, if eccentric, construction of an authorial presence.' (Author's abstract)
'Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance (2010) and Alexis Wright’s Carpentaria (2006) have put the Indigenous novel at the centre of Australian literature for the first time and established these authors as two of Australia’s most prominent and successful contemporary fiction writers. The novels have been widely acclaimed by scholars and critics; both won the Miles Franklin Award and were short-listed for major literary prizes. And yet both these novels trouble Australia’s national identity, drawing attention to and challenging the economic project—capitalism—upon which the nation is predicated. Against the singularity of the nation and the abstracting forces of capitalism these novels posit the particularity and agency of locale, of place. This paper will argue, therefore, that only an ecocritical reading of these novels can adequately account for the challenges—formal, political, epistemological, ontological—that they pose. Through an ecocritical examination of the conflict between capitalism and regional Indigenous management embodied in these novels, I will argue that they rewrite Australia in the voice of the regional, and offer ways of reconsidering the relation of human and non-human which contest our prevailing economic models and their role in the ecological crisis.' (Introduction)
'Kate Grenville’s The Secret River and Sarah Thornhill are usually seen as works which contribute to the process of reconciliation in Australia. At the same time they have been criticised for reproducing rather than challenging a conservative white settler view of the past. In the commentary to date little attention has been paid to the novel’s representation of the domestic worlds of settlers and Aborigines. In this article I explore the way in which Grenville structures and depicts the various domestic spaces in the novels. In doing so I argue that while Grenville’s texts ostensibly contribute to the process of reconciliation in Australia by interrogating white actions in the colonial past, her representation of the domestic undermines that purpose. I suggest that while Grenville takes a more nuanced and complex view of the domestic than some previous writers, who have concentrated on its carceral aspects, her presentation of the homes of her characters, and particularly her normalisation of the Australian bark hut and its successor, the isolated farmhouse, ultimately serves to reinscribe rather than rewrite the narratives of white legitimacy and settler victimhood.' (Author's abstract)