Carol Hetherington canvasses aspects of the debate surrounding the 'paradigm of nation' over the period from the late twentieth to the early twenty-first centuries. In the context of the development of AustLit: The Resource for Australian Literature, Hetherington says: 'It seems abundantly clear that while "National constructs are regarded with suspicion" (Nicholas Jose, 'A Shelf of Our Own: Creative Writing and Australian Literature.' Australian Book Review 276 (Nov.) 2005: 27), the tension between maintaining a national focus, and at the same time exploring its boundaries and intersections with other spaces, is likely to provide fruitful discussion.'
Hetherington explores grounds for author inclusion in E. Morris Miller's Australian Literature from Its Beginnings to 1938 (and its 1956 revision) and compares these with later definitions of 'Australian'. Factors considered include place of birth or education; status as visitor, resident or expatriate; and adoption of citizenship.
A case study is provided of sisters Constance Little and Gwenyth Little (qq.v.) to illustrate the challenges involved in assigning nationality.