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Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL)

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  • 2018 Literary Studies Convention: The Literary Interface

    The Convention will be held at Australian National University, Canberra, from 4-7 July 2018.

    This convention will bring together scholars working across the broad field of literary studies to discuss the literary as an interface between different forms of knowledge and processes of knowledge formation, looking at questions of how and through what means the literary is communicated, represented, negotiated, and remade. By placing the concept of the literary centre-stage while at the same time interrogating its role as an interface, we wish to open up for discussion questions about the role, dynamism, and value of the literary in a time of institutional change and ongoing disciplinary formation. We would also like to debate the role of the literary text - and literary studies as a discipline - as a site of encounter between diverse languages and potentially alien modes of reading and writing.

    Invoking the possibility of melding, soldering, and/or merging different elements, the literary interface suggests the resilience as well as the suppleness of disciplinary boundaries. It conjures the possibility of new meeting points; zones of contact and interaction but also sites of contention and disruption that might challenge received platitudes yet help us to bring to the surface new meanings.

    We invite papers and panel proposals, including but not limited to the following topics:

    • Mediation, remediation, and transmediation
    • Literary Formalism - its past, present and/or future
    • Multimedia forms as interfaces
    • The relationship between forms, networks, and hierarchies
    • Encounters between readers and modes of reading
    • Translation
    • The relationship between literary studies and other disciplines, e.g., environmental studies, maths, ethnography, science
    • The interface between academic and public critical cultures
    • Spaces of reading (online and otherwise)
    • The negotiation of literary value
    • The classroom as literary interface
    • Literary objects as interfaces: circulation, reception, paratexts
    • The stage and other spaces of performance as interface between temporalities, bodies, performers, writers and audiences
    • Cultural interfaces
    • Languages of colonialists/postcoloniality
    • Transnationalism and minor transnationalism.

    Deadline for submissions: 25 August 2017.

    Please send an abstract of 150 words and biographical note of 100 words to

    Jointly held by the Association for the Study of Australian Literature, the Australasian Association for Literature, the Australasian Universities Languages and Literature Association, and the Australian University Heads of English.

    Please note that Early Bird registration closes on 30 April 2018.


  • ASAL ECR Breakfast event at The Literary Interface: Literary Studies Convention 2018

    All early career researchers who are members of ASAL are invited to attend an informal breakfast get together, taking placing on Thursday 5 July, in the morning before the first sessions for that day get started. Come and catch up with your fellow ECR's. Venue tbc - easy walking distance to ANU. More information to come close to the date of the convention. 

  • Call for Papers: Deadline Extended: Marginalia: Bibliography at the Margins

    29 -30 November 2018, the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

    Readers have always responded to books, often by inscribing their reactions – of approval or outrage – in the margins. This conference seeks to explore the condition of being bibliographically “in, on, or at the margins” ranging from examples of significantly annotated copies of books to the relationship of bibliography to cognate disciplines such as history, literature, biography, and critical theory. The conference will also address issues in interpreting, editing, recording and preserving marginalia.

    BSANZ invites proposals for 20-minute papers on matters marginal from the early modern period to the present and beyond. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

    • Celebrated annotators, and particular annotated texts
    • The interpretative challenge of anonymous doodles and notes
    • Marginalia as deep engagement and social intertext
    • The charged vacillation between readership and authorship
    • Marginalia as biographical writing
    • Digital technologies and contemporary marginalia
    • Australasian contributions to the field of marginalia studies
    • Recording and cataloguing marginal traces in library collections
    • Valuing the personal inscription – association, marginalia and the market

    Some financial assistance towards travel costs may be available for postgraduate students who are presenting papers. Please enquire when submitting your proposal, and include a brief budget outlining your anticipated travel costs.

    Proposals – including, a 250-word abstract title of paper, name and institutional affiliation of each author, a brief biography of each author, email address of each author, and 3-5 keywords – should be sent to the convenor, Simon Farley

    Presenters must be members of the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand.

    The deadline for submissions is Friday 27 April 2018.


  • Call for Abstracts: Evolving Minds: Integrating Philosophy, Science and the Arts.

    17-19 September, 2018, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT.

    Professor of Philosophy, Daniel Dennett, has been selected as the 2018 Charles Darwin Scholar, and he is visiting Charles Darwin University in Darwin, Australia from September 8 - 21, during which time he is going to present the “Charles Darwin Scholar Oration.” To coincide with this visit by Daniel Dennett, the ArtLab at Charles Darwin University is staging a conference. This event is going to be themed around the Charles Darwin Scholar Award, with a priority placed on research interests of Dennett in the topics of human consciousness and evolutionary biology, particularly as these topics relate to adaptation, both cultural and biological.

    The Charles Darwin Scholar Program was established in 2013 to enhance the work and legacy of its namesake, Charles Darwin. This link provides more information on the Scholar Program and the role of the Charles Darwin Scholar ( Daniel Dennett is the author of many books, including Breaking the Spell (Viking, 2006), Darwin's Dangerous Idea (Simon and Schuster, 1995), and recently From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds (Norton, 2017). Dennett is the Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University. He has delivered many talks, including not only the John Locke Lectures at Oxford in 1983, but also the Young Lectures at Adelaide in 1985. He has received two Guggenheim Fellowships, two Fulbright Fellowships, and five honorary doctorates. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Science, and he has been awarded the Erasmus Prize (the highest, academic honour in the Netherlands—an honour bequeathed by Queen Beatrice in Amsterdam).
    Keynote Addresses and Special Events: 
    Daniel Dennett will deliver a key-note address to open the conference. We expect to include other invited speakers, one of whom is Professor Stephen Mumford [Durham University]. 
    Panel Session on Consciousness: 
    Daniel Dennett, Stephen Mumford and other invited speakers will also take part in a conference special event, a panel session on the topic of consciousness.

    Call for Papers:
    The organisers invite contributors to submit, in the first instance, abstracts for papers. Topics for papers may include the following themes:

    • Consciousness and Naturalism
    • Cultural Change and Evolutionary Theory
    • Innovating for Adaptation
    • Indigenous Futures and Cultural Responses
    • Cultural Change and Creativity in Science and the Arts

    Please submit an abstract of 200 words (max), accompanied by a bio of 50 words (max). Deadline for submission of abstracts:  Wednesday 9 May, 2018.  

    Please send abstracts (with biography) via email to Dr Sharon Ford (Subject Heading: Conference: Evolving minds 2018):

    More information will follow shortly about the program for the conference, including information about registration, participation, and accommodation, as well as other events pertaining to the proceedings.

    Conference Organisation and Contact: 
    Lead organiser and contact person: Dr Sharon Ford (

    General organisation committee: members of ArtLab, College of Indigenous Futures, Arts and Society, CDU:

    Dr Sharon Ford
    Dr Nicolas Bullot
    Dr Adelle Sefton-Rowston
    Dr Christian Bok

  • Call For Papers: Life Writing in the Anthropocene: A special issue of a/b: Auto/Biography Studies

    We have, arguably, entered the age of the Anthropocene, a time when our environment has been substantially shaped by humans rather than vice versa. It is an age marked by environmental decline and extinction: the last forty years have witnessed the irrevocable disappearance of half the world’s vertebrates; sixty percent of the world’s wild primates are facing extinction; and the geographic range of Australia’s iconic gum trees is threatened to shrink by half within the next sixty years. Given these statistics, it is timely to consider the intertwining of our selves with our ecology, particularly given the historically anthropocentric focus on auto/biography.
    a/b: Auto/Biography Studies seeks original articles for a special issue on “Life Writing in the Anthropocene” to be published as volume 35.1. How can autobiography, a form which has traditionally dwelled upon representations of the human self, extend to representations of non-human lives? How do we write about the impact which our life has upon other lives? Can we describe the non-human without anthropomorphising it? What is the role of literature in illuminating the non-human and its importance to our selves? How can we articulate relationships with non-human lives in ways that underscore their significance?
    The need to address such questions is becoming increasingly urgent in this new epoch. With this in mind, we welcome contemplation of the representation and imagining of non-human and human selves in the Anthropocene. Articles might canvas the following:

    • representations of ecosystems and identity formation
    • the prevalence of narratives about grief and environment or, more largely, the role of emotion in our literary entwinement with nature
    • the imagination and articulation of extinct lives
    • the meaningful representation of lives in the span of deep time, given the 
insignificance of human time against this scale
    • the impact of colonisation upon ecosystems, particularly in consideration of constitution of Indigenous selves and communities
    • the possibilities of digital enmeshments with environment
    • distinctions between communal and singular selves
    • issues of style or genre, such as ecobiography or eco-memoir
    • lives in urban ecologies
    • depictions of non-human lives and/or ecosystems
    • Indigenous and non-Indigenous representations of landscapes and country
    • the composition of posthuman selves and their environments 

    This issue is an exciting opportunity to bring non-human lives into conversations about life writing. We welcome essays from a wide range of disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, sciences and creative arts. Cross-fertilisation of disciplines is also warmly welcomed. 
    Essays should be 6,000-8,000 words including citations. Shorter pieces, up to 4,000 words, are also sought for scholarly reflections on writing and/or representing non-human lives such as insect, air, plants or animals.
    Please include a coversheet with your name, contact details, and a brief biographical statement. Authors must also include a short abstract and two to four keywords with their submissions. Images with captions should be submitted in a separate file as 300 dpi (or higher) tif files. It is the author’s responsibility to secure any necessary copyright permissions and essays may not progress into the publication stage without written proof of right to reprint. All essays submitted for the special issue, but not selected, will be considered general submissions.

    Submissions are due 1st September 2018. Please email submissions to the guest editors: Jessica White and Gillian Whitlock Inquiries welcome.
    Guest Editors: Jessica White & Gillian Whitlock
    The University of Queensland
    Biographical Statements 
    Dr Jessica White is the author of A Curious Intimacy (Penguin, 2007) and Entitlement (Penguin, 2012). Her short fiction, essays and poetry have appeared widely in literary journals and she is the recipient of funding, residencies and numerous awards. Jessica is currently an Australia Research Council DECRA postdoctoral fellow at The University of Queensland, where she is writing an ecobiography of nineteenth-century Australian botanist Georgiana Molloy.
    Professor Gillian Whitlock is a Professor of English in the School of Communication and Arts at The University of Queensland and a Fellow of the Academy of the Humanities. She is the author of a series of monographs on life writing, including Postcolonial Life Narratives. Testimonial Transactions (OUP, 2015) and Soft Weapons: Autobiography in Transit (Chicago UP, 2007), as well as numerous chapters and articles. Her current project focusses on asylum seeker narratives from the Pacific.

  • Symposium / Public Forum: Provocation #1: Who Shot the Albatross? Gate-keeping in Australian Culture

    10.30am-4pm Forum: 5-7pm Hartley Concert Room University of Adelaide, 26 April 2018
    Provocation #1 asks: What unchallenged orthodoxies still govern Australian cultural production? Are cultural institutions receptive to new voices or are they living in a literary echo-chamber? We are inviting submissions for papers and performances for a day long symposium and public forum. Confirmed keynote speakers and discussants include:

    • Professor Sneja Gunew
    • Michelle Cahill
    • A/Professor Mark Davis
    • Professor Brian Castro

    Papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length and might address the following topics:

    • Cultural institutions and gate-keeping
    • Awards, grants, anthologies and reviewing networks
    • If the centre is still white… Why?
    • Marginalisation
    • Generationalism or institutionalism?
    • New establishments; new orthodoxies
    • Old elites recycled
    • Moral panics
    • Endemic silences
    • Self-censorship
    • New perspectives on the new pluralism

    Email: Selected papers and presentations will be published in the Sydney Review of Books.
    Provocations is a new public forum tackling controversies in the arts and humanities, hosted by the J.M. Coetzee Centre for Creative Practice.

  • Event: Poetic Presence: John Forbes in the archive: Duncan Hose

    9.45am for 10.00am-10.45am, Tuesday, 27 March 2018, followed by morning tea Terrace Room, Level 6, Sir Llew Edwards Building 14

    John Forbes (1950-1998) was a totem favourite of later 20th century poetry in Australia. 

    In this presentation, 2017 Fryer Library Fellow, Dr Duncan Hose will speak of his pursuit of the daemon or “literary ghostmark” of John Forbes through personal papers that remain charged with the aura and charism of the poet some 20 years after his passing. Part of the ‘Generation of 1968’, Forbes continues to have a marked influence upon younger writers coming to poetry today. This is allied to an insistence in his work on poetry as a critical science of joy.
    Throughout the term of his Fellowship, Dr Hose delved into the Fryer Library’s collection of Forbes’ manuscripts that include correspondence, notes and drafts. He will speak about the uncanny aspects of seeking out the daemon, or composite metaphysical forces, that drives a poetic practice characterised as “pagan sermons” within this modern, secular era
    RSVP by Friday, 23 March 2018 Register online at or phone (07) 3365 6362

  • Call For Papers: Colloquium on the work of John M. Clarke

    25-26 May 2018, Massey University, Palmerston North. 
    John Clarke (1948-2017) was one of Australia’s and New Zealand’s most accomplished and most celebrated humourists. From his early performances as the iconic character, Fred Dagg, to his creation of one of Australia’s most acclaimed screen comedies, The Games (1998-2000), and through his three decades of incisive comic interviews alongside Bryan Dawe, Clarke emerged as the pre-eminent antipodean political satirist, working across multiple media and formats. His influence was such that he did not simply embody the comic traditions of two nations but transformed and extended them. Clarke’s comedy occupies a central place in the cultural landscape of both countries that he called home.

    One year after his untimely death in 2017, contributors are invited to propose papers for a colloquium that will critically examine his life and work. The event will be held at Massey University, Palmerston North—the city of Clarke’s birth and childhood—from May 25-26. The academic program is planned to accompany several other events remembering Clarke’s life and work.

    Papers are welcome on any aspect of Clarke’s life and work, his relationship to comic and national traditions, his work across different media, and his role as a satirist, commentator and public figure. A limited number of papers may be selected for inclusion in a forthcoming 2019 special issue of the Journal of Comedy Studies dedicated to Clarke’s comedy.

    Submission of Abstracts and Bionotes
    Abstracts should be no more than 500 words, including a title and any essential references.  Please prepare a word-document using Times New Roman 12 pt font and double spacing. 

    The Call will close on 18 March 2018 (though extensions can be discussed). 

    Submit your abstract, accompanied by a 150 word bio-note that includes your affiliation and contact details, by email to:

    Dr Nicholas Holm
    English and Media Studies
    Massey University, Wellington

  • Conference: Last Call for Papers: Writers, Dreamers, Drifters and the Aegean

    25 and 26 September, 2018, Hotel Bratsera, Hydra
    Following on from the Half the Perfect World Conference held on Hydra in 2016, Writers, Dreamers, Drifters and the Aegean continues the exploration of post-war literary and artistic exchange centred on Greece and the Aegean.
    Mainland Greece and the Aegean islands, sitting within the orbit of three continents and at the crucible of several civilisations and empires, have been at the centre of intellectual, cultural, commercial and migratory exchange for millennia. As the second half of the Twentieth Century dawned they struggled for relevancy. Despite enjoying some of the planet’s most enticing natural and cultural attractions and an enviable climate, they were also poor, underdeveloped and depleted by a decade of war and by generations of development that had driven populations to mainland cities. But what modernity had taken, it might yet give back, as post-war Europe looked to make the most of economic growth and expanding opportunities for leisure, travel and cultural tourism. For a generation of writers and artists the Aegean continued to serve as inspiration, respite, escape, or touchstone. This is the subject matter of Writers, Dreamers, Drifters and the Aegean.
    Papers might focus on the international expatriates and visitors who are now associated with the region; including George Johnston, Charmian Clift; Sidney Nolan, Axel Jensen; Henry Miller, Gordon Merrick; Patrick Leigh Fermor, Lawrence and Gerald Durrell, and Leonard Cohen. There are many others. Papers might also consider Greek writers and artists such as George Seferis, George Katsimbalis, and Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika. Again there are many others.

    The conference also invites contributions on subjects in the context of the Aegean, such as twentieth century literary and artistic expatriation; cultural travel, and intellectual exchange. They could also relate new ideas about emergent tourist literature focused on the Aegean; consider post-war promotion of the Mediterranean and Aegean and the impact of mass-tourism; discuss the significance of islands in post-war Greek literary culture (and/or other literatures); or consider women’s contributions to the imagination and realisation of Greek island living.
    While papers associated with Hydra are particularly relevant, we also welcome contributions that consider literary and artistic expatriation, cultural exchange and travel to mainland Greece and other Aegean islands or the wider Mediterranean.
    Conference Convenors: Tanya Dalziell (University of Western Australia) and Paul Genoni (Curtin University)

    Abstracts: 250 words, due by: February 16, 2018

    Address to:; and/or 

    Please contact convenors with any queries about the suitability of topics etc.
    Papers: 25 minutes, with 15 minutes for discussion.

  • Announcement of Visiting Professors in Australian Studies: Distinguished Australian Academics Appointed Visiting Professor in Australian Studies, University of Tokyo

    Leading Australian scholars Professor Melanie Oppenheimer (Flinders University) and Professor David Lowe (Deakin University) have been appointed to the annual Visiting Professor in Australian Studies position at the Centre for Pacific and American Studies (CPAS), University of Tokyo, for 2018–19 and 2019–20 respectively.
    ‘Australia and Japan have important historical, economic and cultural ties, with more Australians visiting Japan now than ever before.  The Visiting Professor in Australian Studies contributes to deepening academic co-operation between the two nations, and enabling Japanese students to learn in depth about Australian society’, says Professor Kate Darian-Smith (University of Tasmania), Chair of the Selection Committee.
    Melanie Oppenheimer is Professor and Chair of History in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University. Her research on twentieth century Australian history has concerned voluntary action, volunteering, gender and war. She has expertise on humanitarianism and the history of the Australian Red Cross and the broader Red Cross Movement. She will use her time in Japan to develop research involving the development of international humanitarianism and the role played by the Japanese Red Cross in the evolution of the League of Red Cross Societies, formed in 1919. Professor Oppenheimer is delighted to be appointed to the Visiting Chair and is very much looking forward to engaging with students and academics to enhance relationships between Japan and Australian studies in the humanitarian field. 
    David Lowe is Professor and Chair of Contemporary History in the Faculty of Arts and Education at Deakin University in Victoria. He is Australia’s leading historian of Australia’s international relations in the Asia-Pacific, and has published several books in the area including a biography of Percy Spender and other studies of the Cold War and Australian public diplomacy. Professor Lowe’s research program will focus on the connections between Australia and Japan in the realm of foreign aid. He is looking forward to engaging Japanese students on the changing composition of Australia's population, Australia's involvement in postwar decolonisation, and Australians' encounters with atomic energy.
    Contact for interviews:
    Professor Melanie Oppenheimer
    Chair of History
    Flinders University
    Telephone: +61 8 8201 2322
    Professor David Lowe
    Chair in Contemporary History
    Deakin University
    Telephone: +61 3 5227 2691
    The position is supported by the Australia-Japan Foundation (AJF). The AJF is a non-statutory, bilateral foundation in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It was established in 1976 with the aim of strengthening and further developing Australia-Japan relations. The AJF provides funds in support of a range of projects that help advance Australia’s engagement with Japan. The International Australian Studies Association (InASA), the peak global Australian Studies organisation, manages the selection process on behalf of the Australia-Japan Foundation. Applications for the 2021-22 and 2022-23 Professorship will open in mid-2020.
    Further details about the position can be found at:

  • Event: Katherine Bode: Uncovering the true history of Australian Literature

    6-7pm, Thurs 1 Mar, ANU
    Newspapers were the main sources of fiction, international and local, in Australia in the nineteenth century. But the lack of records of this fiction and the enormous size of the newspaper archive have left us with very little understanding of the types of stories published, where they came from and how they were sourced and presented. The mass digitization of historical newspapers changes this situation dramatically. The millions of digital newspaper pages available through the National Library of Australia's Trove database support an entirely new history of literature in Australia and Australian literature.

    Alongside previously unknown colonial authors and titles by well-known writers, this new history includes the surprisingly international nature of reading in the Australian colonies, the astonishing scale of nineteenth-century local literary production, the previously unrecognized importance of provincial newspapers in publishing and promoting such fiction, and a radically new version of the Australian bush tradition. The digital environment also presents opportunities for members of the public to add to and enhance our record of Australian literature, and perhaps even to make new discoveries that transform understandings of our literary heritage.

    Associate Professor Katherine Bode teaches Australian and digital literary studies in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics at the Australian National University. She has published extensively on Australian literature and digital collections, including in a forthcoming book with University of Michigan Press entitled A World of Fiction: Digital Collections and the Future of Literary History. In 2018 she will begin a prestigious Future Fellowship to investigate professional and social media reception of Australian literature.

    There will be pre-event book signings from 5.30pm then again after the lecture. Books will be available for purchase. 

    For further details please see the following link:

  • New Issue of JASAL

    The current issue of JASAL can be accessed at the following link:

  • Alisa McPherson Fellowship UNSW 2018

    Awarded to a Doctoral or Masters graduate of UNSW School of the Arts and Media (and its forerunner Schools) to either develop their thesis submission for book publication, or to develop a new area of research or creative practice on an approved topic. In accordance with the bequest, the thesis and subsequent book or the new research/creative practice area must be on a topic relating to music, film, theatre or literature in nineteenth century Australia.

    The Fellowship consists of an honorarium award of $20,000 and research support of $5,000. The research support may be used for fieldwork, other research costs, or publication subvention. The honorarium will be paid in two equal amounts – at the commencement of the Fellowship and at the successful completion of the project as approved by the Head of School. UNSW may offer more than one Fellowship in any year and a suitable appointee may also be awarded an honorary appointment with UNSW for the term of the Fellowship.

    a)       must have already successfully completed and been awarded a Doctoral or Masters degree from UNSW School of the Arts and Media (and its forerunner Schools); and,
    b)      either i) have a well developed book proposal and ideally, already have support and agreement from a reputable publisher; or ii) have a viable academic research or creative practice project they wish to undertake on an approved topic.
    Awards will be made annually commencing in 2018. Applications are due by 1 March each year and should be sent in one PDF document to the Head of School, Arts & Media, UNSW Sydney 2052 at the following email address:
     To be considered applicants must submit:

    1. Their UNSW and other University official academic transcripts.
    2. A current curriculum vitae (no more than four pages A4).
    3. Either: i) Abstract from the thesis to be considered; detailed plans for book publication; and, letter of offer, contract or similar expression of interest from a reputable publisher. Or: ii) a detailed academic research or creative practice proposal of no more than two pages A4 containing an overview of the project, project plan, proposed publication outcomes or public dissemination outcomes, brief bibliography and a personal statement addressing how the project relates to previous work by the applicant.
    4. A proposed budget for the research support of $5000 (no more than one page A4).

    The Fellowships will continue to be offered until all funds from the bequest are utilised. Applicants may only receive the Fellowship once and no extension of the Fellowship is possible. The Fellowship project is to be completed within twelve months of the Fellowship award. Publications or other public outcomes arising from the Fellowship should carry an acknowledgement to the Ailsa McPherson Fellowships, School of the Arts & Media, UNSW Sydney.

    Assessment of the Ailsa McPherson Fellowships will be by the Head of School, Arts & Media, UNSW Sydney who will seek advice from the Associate Dean (Research) and/or School Research Convenor and from a senior member of staff in the relevant discipline area.

    Applications due: 1 March 2018

  • Call for Papers: Frankenstein 2018: two hundred years of monsters

    12-15 September 2018, The Australian National University, and National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra
    Nearly two centuries after its anonymous publication on 1 January 1818, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus remains as topical as ever. Its core story—of a recklessly ambitious and naïve scientist whose artificial human-like creature arouses only horror and disgust, and escapes control to seek revenge on his creator—has become, for better or worse, the techno-scientific fable of modernity. First adapted for stage by Richard Brinsley Peake in 1823, and for film by Edison Studios in 1910, the story has inspired more theatre, film, television and other adaptations than any other modern narrative, with more than 50 screen adaptations appearing in the 2010s alone. From Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to Alex Garland’s Ex Machina, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show to The Addams Family, the Frankenstein myth reaches into every recess of high and popular culture.
    We invite proposals for 20-minute papers or 3 x 20-minute panel sessions from scholars across the humanities, sciences and social sciences that respond in interdisciplinary ways to this most interdisciplinary of novels, including, but not limited to:

    • Literary studies, especially of the long eighteenth century, Romanticism, Victorian and neo-Victorian literature
    • Re-tellings and re-imaginings of the Frankenstein story in various modes and genres, e.g. SF, steampunk, speculative fiction, slash fiction, etc.
    • Film, television, theatre and performance, and visual studies
    • Digital humanities, reception studies, histories of popular culture and media ecologies
    • Gender studies, queer theory and the history of sexuality
    • Disability studies and posthumanism
    • The history of medicine, especially reproductive technologies
    • Science and technology studies; images and imaginaries of science and scientists
    • The history and philosophy of biology, especially in relation to vitalism
    • Ecocriticism and the Anthropocene
    • Affect theory and the history of emotions
    • Frankenstein and race, colonialism, empire
    • Global and local Frankensteins, e.g. Australian Frankensteins
    • Frankenstein and material history
    • Cyborgs, robots, artificial intelligence and machine learning
    • Synthetic biology, genetic engineering and artificial life

    To maintain order among this menagerie of monsters, we propose the following four overarching themes, each of which will be addressed by one of our keynote speakers:
    Frankenstein in 1818: historicising the monster
    (Professor Sharon Ruston, Lancaster)
    Frankenstein as scientific fable: from grave-robbing and galvanism to synthetic biology and machine learning
    (Professor Genevieve Bell, Australian National University)
    Adaptation and experimentation: Frankenstein in film and other media
    (Assistant Professor Shane Denson, Stanford)
    Frankenstein’s queer family: gender, sexuality, reproduction and the work of care
    (Professor Julie Carlson, University of California, Santa Barbara)
    Please send proposals for papers or sessions—including a title, 250-word abstract, and brief author biography—to Dr Russell Smith at
    The deadline for proposals is 6 April 2018. Proposals will be reviewed by a committee comprising scholars from the humanities, sciences and social sciences, and we will endeavour to inform applicants of the outcome within two weeks of the submission deadline. Please note that we will endeavour to notify overseas applicants earlier if they submit proposals before the submission deadline.

    For further information and updates, as well as information about the Humanities Research Centre’s annual theme for 2018, Imagining Science and Technology 200 Years after Frankenstein, see:

    Please direct any inquiries to Penny Brew at

  • AustLit Database Reminder

    ASAL members with publications in the AustLit Database are strongly encouraged to check that your profile and entries are up-to-date. Providing biographical details, photos and updated records will help elevate AustLit in google rankings and consequently drive more traffic to your scholarship. The email address for updates and questions is:


  • Call For Papers: Risk Anything!: Modernist Women between Centre and Periphery

    Friday 6 April 2018, UNSW Sydney, Australia
    A symposium presented by the Australasian Modernist Studies Network
    Keynote: A/Prof Natalya Lusty (The University of Sydney)
    “Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.”
                    – Katherine Mansfield, journal entry 14 October 1922
    The peripatetic New Zealand modernist Katherine Mansfield wrote these words towards the end of her life, urging herself to be courageous, to pursue her creative convictions. Mansfield’s approach to life and work is an example of the countless creative women who embraced, employed and drove the modernist cultural experiment.

    Nearly a century later, our own era is equally defined by contingency and risk, offering a unique opportunity to reflect on the history and legacies of creative behaviour that defines itself in terms of risk. We invite proposals from scholars on topics relating to risk, women and modernist culture, and from female-identifying artists, writers and performers whose practice engages with the legacies of modernist women. We especially welcome contributions focusing on women who have traversed the ‘risky’ division between centres of modernism – Britain, Europe, and the United States – and so-called ‘peripheries’. These may take the form of a 20-minute presentation/10-minute question format or a team-led 90 minute roundtable discussion or workshop format. 

    Risk may be interpreted in relation to:

    • Creative experimentation and the avant-garde
    • Cultural and gender norms
    • Sexuality
    • Reputation
    • Failure
    • Personal motivation
    • Finance/business
    • Danger – personal, political, social
    • Political struggle

    Selected papers will be published as a special journal issue.

    Please send 250-word proposals for papers, roundtables or workshops, along with a 50-word bio to by 31 January 2018. Responses will be distributed in early February.

    Event organisers: Dr Baylee Brits (UNSW), Dr Louise R Mayhew (Griffith University) & Dr Helen Rydstrand (UNSW).

  • Call for Submissions JEASA - Journal of the European Association for Studies of Australia

    Guest-edited Issue 1 / 2018 The Tides of Distant Isles: Transnational &Transcultural Readings of Contemporary Australian Poetry The issue, guest-edited by Dr. Matthew Hall (Deakin University, Australia), will comprise of interviews, select poems, and a series of articles on recent Australian poetry, it’s constructs, influences, means and ends. This issue will explore the underexposed, the difficult, the experimental poets of the continent and consider their work in contemplation of a ‘networked history’ of language. If, as John Mateer has argued, Australia is not an island, then this issue will address the crosscurrents, tides and voyages that link a body of land to the broader ocean. How might these currents create their own cultural products? How have changes in world literature begun to address and impact Australian poetry? How have individual writers been influenced from abroad? Is there an Australia at the heart of Australian literature? How has Australian Unsettlement used to tell alternate histories? How might Australian Indigenous poetry be read through networks of relation or through forces of global Indigeneity?
    Examples of essays that might tackle broader poetry and publishing forces might include:

    • Prague as a distant shore: Louis Armand, VLAK and the framing of  Australian poetry
    • SALT publishing: UK and Australian publishing and networks of difference
    • Diasporic poetics as a productive tension
    • Australian-US connections as symbiotic exchange
    • The history of Jacket: an antipodean state of communicative exchange
    • Yellowfield

    Acts of Curation across the seas But we will certainly welcome more focused poetic studies that contemplate, discuss and disseminate ideas from contemporary Australian poetry, broadly conceived, for those who call Australia home, and those whose ties remain literary. The European Association for Studies of Australia, founded in 1989, seeks to promote the teaching of and research in Australian Studies at European tertiary institutions, as well as to increase an awareness of Australian culture throughout Europe. EASA promotes the study and discussion of a wide variety of aspects of Australian culture: Indigenous studies, literature, film, the media, popular culture, history, political discourses, the arts. EASA's area of interest also includes New Zealand Studies. All submitted contributions will be peer reviewed. The publication of the issue is expected in the first half of 2018.
    Please submit your articles by December 31, 2017 to the JEASA’s guest editor, Matthew Hall, at and general editor Martina Horakova at Please remove your name and any indications of your authorship from the text and write your name, affiliation, and a 150-word bio in a separate document. Submissions must follow these guidelines: Articles should be between 5,000-8,000 words long, Times New Roman, 12 point font, singlespaced. The title should be followed by abstract and 5-6 keywords. In-text references and bibliography must follow the latest MLA style of documenting sources. Articles written by nonnative speakers must be proofread by a native English speaker prior to submission. Other formats (interviews, reflections, narrative prose, etc.) are to be consulted with the guest editor. A detailed stylesheet is available at the journal’s website:
    Matthew Hall, guest editor
    Martina Horakova, general editor

  • Unsettling Australia: International Australian Studies Association Biennial Conference

    3-5 December 2018, The University of Queensland 
    Australia, the oldest continental landmass on Earth, has had a relatively stable geographical history and, situated in the middle of a tectonic plate, it currently has no active volcanism. However the advent of colonisation led to massive upheavals in Australia’s extant cultures, history and environment. Prior to this, Indigenous peoples too dramatically impacted the environment.
    Two hundred and thirty years later, these ruptures are being experienced more intensely than ever. Politics has seen the rise of populism; climate change is destabilising human and non-human populations; and discrimination remains entrenched despite feminism, social justice, and human rights movements and legislation. Technology has disrupted the traditional media landscape while creating new global networks. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have survived enormous hardship and displacement, yet respond strategically to assert a national voice, to call for agreement-making between governments and First Nations, and to insist on truth-telling about history.
    These timely issues create a sense of urgency, a need to make sense of and to react in intelligent and creative ways. While this is a time of great unsettlement, it is also an opportunity: as scholars, we have the capacity to interrogate, contextualise and disseminate innovative responses to these issues. The 2018 InASA conference, Unsettling Australia, seeks to create an environment in which ideas and answers can be articulated, discussed and debated. We welcome papers which address any of the following eight streams:

    • Unsettling the Transnational Turn
    • Unsettling the Environment
    •  Unsettling Colonial Networks
    • Unsettling Resource Extraction
    • Unsettling Intimacies in the Pacific Rim
    • Unsettling Gender, Sexualities, Bodies
    •  Unsettling Race and Sovereignty
    • Unsettling Class

    Please submit your abstract of no more than 250 words via the 2018 InASA Conference website at 
    Select the conference stream that best fits your proposed contribution, then use the “Submit” button to generate an email that will be directed to the relevant stream convenor. Abstracts are due by 1 March 2018. General inquiries can be sent to

  • The Grattan Street Press

    The Grattan Street Press is a university teaching press at the University of Melbourne.  Its Colonial Australian Popular Fiction series has now published two novels, John Lang’s The Forger’s Wife (1853, 1855) and Ellen Davitt’s Force and Fraud (1865):

    Ken Gelder is general editor of the series, which aims to publish two colonial novels each year across different genres: crime fiction for 2017, colonial romance – J.D. Hennessey’s An Australian Bush Track (1896) and Louise Mack’s An Australian Girl in London (1902) – for 2018. These novels are reprinted from first editions or original magazine serialisation. They are each given an informed scholarly introduction, a note on the text, and explanatory footnotes where appropriate, following the Oxford World’s Classics model. The overall aim is to produce colonial novels for contemporary readers that are a pleasure to read, but also suitable as teaching texts at universities and upper level secondary schools.

    The series would welcome expressions of interest, and publishing suggestions, from potential future editors: especially RHD students working on colonial Australian literary projects. Introductions are usually around 2500 words and formats are now established. Send an email to Ken Gelder:

  • Call for Papers: The Australasian Modernist Studies Network presents AMSN4: Modernist Comedy & Humour

    26-28 October 2018, University of Melbourne
    Is modernism funny? During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Sigmund Freud theorized jokes and their relation to the unconscious, while Henri Bergson argued that laughter is produced by “something mechanical encrusted on the living.” English literary modernists held Victorian earnestness in contempt, often while taking themselves extremely seriously. Early twentieth-century Dadaists committed themselves to nonsense and irrationality and, in 1940, the surrealist André Breton edited and published an anthology of “black humour.” The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries also saw the rise of popular and parodic forms of comedy and humour such as the comic strip, vaudeville, camp, and Buster Keaton’s deadpan acting style. These comic forms and styles were bound up with histories of immigration, gender and sexuality, race, technology, and culture industries.

    Humanities scholars are devoting new attention to the aesthetics, politics, and social significance of comedy and humour. For instance, in their 2017 special issue of Critical Inquiry on comedy, Lauren Berlant and Sianne Ngai note competing trajectories of modern social life: on the one hand, “people are increasingly supposed to be funny all the time,” and on the other, “humourlessness is on the rise.” In the same issue, Ngai opposes the labor-saving operations of the “gimmick” to Victor Shklovsky and Bertolt Brecht’s practices of making methods of production visible. These tensions and oppositions suggest the usefulness of attending to comedy and humour in the field of modernist studies, which in recent years has rethought traditional oppositions among popular, high modernist, and avant-garde cultural forms.

    We invite papers that engage with comedy and humour across the interdisciplinary field of modernist studies. How do comedy and humour reflect and affect the geographical, temporal, and cultural expansiveness of contemporary modernist studies, and what might Australasian scholarship contribute to this expansion? When are comic genres and styles normative, subversive, or ambivalent? When is laughter a mode of detachment, and when is it a way of being in relation? Who is in on the joke, and why does it matter?
    Possible topics might include:

    • Camp, kitsch, taste, judgment
    • Comic performance genres and styles: vaudeville, music hall, variety,
    • minstrelsy, burlesque, standup, the deadpan, slapstick, shtick, gimmicks
    • Humourlessness, earnestness, seriousness, the unfunny
    • Jokes, comic timing, comic tones
    • Comic strips, political cartoons, caricature
    • The ridiculous, the absurd
    • Humour and/of the avant-garde
    • Laughter and audience behavior
    • Ways and theories of reading
    • The mechanical, grotesque, or nonhuman; humourous objects
    • Pleasure, play, fun
    • Comedy as and at work
    • Commodity culture, advertisements
    • Affect and emotion
    • Ethnic, national, or cosmopolitan comic perspectives
    • Queer humour, sexual parody
    • Overstatement and understatement
    • The epigram, the bon mot, the cutting remark
    • Normative and subversive humour, harmlessness, vulgarity, offensiveness
    • Theories and histories of comedy and humour

    Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words and a bio of no more than 150 words to as an attachment by 30 March 2018.

    A link to the full CFP is here:

    Confirmed keynote speaker: Professor Nick Salvato (Cornell). This speaker is supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.

    Conference committee:
    Dr Sarah Balkin, University of Melbourne
    Professor Ronan McDonald, University of Melbourne Elizabeth McLean, University of Melbourne
    Jessica Marian, University of Melbourne

    Questions may be directed to

  • ARC Centres of Excellence Workshop

    Workshop to support applications for ARC Centres of Excellence in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) sector. The ARC, the Academies of Humanities and Social Sciences, and DASSH are running a day-long workshop in Canberra on 11 December to increase the number of strong expressions of interest that have a HASS component.

    For further information, please see the website:  

  • Call for Papers: SHARP 2018: 'From First to Last Texts, Creators, Readers, Agents' the 26th annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP)

    Monday 9 July to Thursday 12 July, with an optional excursion (details TBC) on Friday 13 July, 2018. This international book history conference will be held in the Southern Hemisphere for the first time, at Western Sydney University, New South Wales, Australia.

    As SHARP moves into its next 25 years, participants are encouraged to think creatively about how the book has been an agent that both anchors cultural continuities and provokes changes in mentalities throughout human history; the connectivity between oral / aural traditions and written cultures etc.; challenging assumptions about centre / periphery and Anglo / Euro-centrisms in Book History; and states of the discipline which address book historiographical concerns and trends, but also stimulate book history to become truly adventurous and methodologically innovative.
    In the fictional work The Last Witchfinder (James Morrow, 2006), the book’s narrator—also a book, in this case Newton’s Principia Mathematica—claimed that “unlike you humans, a book always remembers its moment of conception”. Equally we might argue that a text rarely ever dies and may go through many rebirths and incarnations. The conference theme of origins, endings and renewal may be approached from several angles. Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

    • What is the beginning and the end of the book?
    • Exploding book histories, geographies and chronologies;
    • Alternative models: knowledge communities and practice in Indigenous cultures.
    • Transitions, overlaps and reinventions in orality, manuscript, print and the digital;
    • Transhistorical, transgender and transcultural comparisons in book history;
    • Books and the non-human / post-human world;
    • The textual human and the human text;
    • Literary agents and non-literary forms of agency that shift book history conventions;
    • The many lives of books: destroying, defacing, unmaking, repairing & restoring texts;
    • Non-literary forces, power structures, language politics and the book;
    • Authorship, originality and creative processes;
    • Materialising text and making containers;
    • Primary motives and end rewards in publishing and related industries; and
    • Temporalities, durations and revolutions in reading.

    See the full Call for Papers at along with further details, submission instructions and multilingual versions.

  • PhD Scholarships at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities

    The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Queensland is offering up to two PhD scholarships to study under the following research project: 

    Literary and Book History after Colonialism

    Australian settler modernity was shaped by distinct orders of knowledge that can be traced through book history and studies of print culture. The key aim of Associate Professor Anna Johnston’s ARC Future Fellowship project is to provide fresh and challenging readings of Australia’s literary and cultural history, and to map the aftermath of colonialism in contemporary culture.

    Successful applicants will be supervised by Associate Professor Anna Johnston, and will be enrolled in the School of Communication and Arts. While all relevant dissertation projects will be considered, proposals that articulate with Fellowship themes and approach are encouraged. Indicative projects could include:

    • Settler colonialism and Australian literature, past and present
    • Colonial science and natural history publications
    • Travel writing
    • Missionary writing
    • Archival or book history projects, particularly using UQ’s Fryer Library and / or AustLit
    • Non-fictional prose and literary studies

    Students in literary studies, cultural and intellectual history, and postcolonial cultural studies are encouraged to apply and to refine their proposal in consultation with the project leader.

    For more information about the scholarship, please see the following link:

    For any further enquiries, please contact Associate Professor Anna Johnston (

  • Teaching Australian literature?: Help keep Aust Lit up to date

    AustLit collects information about the teaching of Australian literature texts at universities and tertiary institutions around Australia and internationally, and links to this information from the work and author records.

    At a glance, AustLit tells you:

    • how, where, and in what context, a particular text is taught
    • what degree or course the text is part of
    • which Australian texts are taught with non-Australian texts in thematically driven courses, such as nineteenth century women’s writing, popular fictions, eco-criticism, drama, life writing, etc.

    So, if you’re teaching Australian texts in your university class, please send AustLit the:

    • titles of set works
    • course code and course title
    • contact details

    to or