AustLit logo
y separately published work icon JASAL periodical issue   peer reviewed assertion
Alternative title: Journal of the Association for the Study of Australian Literature; The Colonial Present : Australian Writing for the 21st Century
Note: Guest editors for special issue.
Issue Details: First known date: 2008... Special Issue 2008 of JASAL est. 2002 JASAL
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


  • Includes versions of papers originally presented at the 2007 Association for the Study of Australian Literature conference.


* Contents derived from the 2008 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Miscegenations : Race, Culture, Phantasy, Mark Sanders , single work criticism
'Sanders's article draws representations of the Stolen Generations into a comparative perspective informed by the work of Melanie Klein ... This conjunction emphasises ... the importance of framing our work on the legacies of colonialism in carefully contextualised studies that actively engage with the specific dynamics of history, colonialism and writing in this century.' (Editor's note)
(p. 10-36)
Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.
'Disappearing Memory' and the Colonial Present in Recent Indigenous Women's Writing, Carole Ferrier , single work criticism
Ferrier writes that her paper: 'contextualise[s] some significantly innovative women's texts within the developing history of Indigenous women's published writing since the 1960s, notably two novels- Vivienne Cleven's Her Sister's Eye (2002) and Alexis Wright's Carpentaria (2006). It will do this by placing them within perspectives that other, mainly Indigenous, commentators have offered; by considering Indigenous people's long negotiation with racialised and sexualised stereotypes of black women; by discussing what Indigenous people and others have suggested about postcoloniality and postcolonisation as a frame used for their situation; and by showing how these narratives emerge within, against and out of a past history of colonialist and paternalist intervention ... that involves little truth or reconciliation.' (p.37)
(p. 37-55)
Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.
Engaging the Public Intimacy of Whiteness: The Indigenous Protest Poetry of Romaine Moreton, Anne Brewster , single work criticism
'In this article I embark upon an investigation of the politico-aesthetics of a trajectory of Australian indigenous poetry which overtly undertakes political and social critique and in doing so foregrounds the relations between colonial history and representation. I investigate whether the category of 'protest literature' can do any useful cultural and literary work in talking about this literature. I take the work of Romaine Moreton as exemplary of this tradition and examine how her poetry works rhetorically and performatively on its audience.' (Author's abstract)
(p. 56-76)
Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.
David Unaipon's Style of Subversion: Performativity and Becoming in 'Gool Lun Naga (Green Frog)', David Unaipon , single work criticism
'This paper theorises Aboriginal author David Unaipon's style of subversion. Firstly, Unaipon's manner of dress is investigated as an embodied, performative Aboriginal resistance strategy that fits within a worldwide history of dandyism. Secondly, a close reading of one of Unaipon's short stories ('Gool Lun Naga (Green Frog)') reveals how his performative method of resistance is apparent not only in his dress, but in his writings as well. Such an analysis seeks to intervene in a history of criticism on Unaipon's life and writing that fails to account for the many contradictions within his life and writing. Ultimately, the failure to account for the many contradictions in Unaipon's life is seen as contributing to the colonial present (Gregory), where colonial discourses still operate to define and limit Aboriginality. Unaipon's constant struggle against such discourses is read as a "becoming-imperceptible" (Deleuze and Guattari); a style of subversion that has paved the way for many Aboriginal artists since.' (Author's abstract)
(p. 77-93)
Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.
Taking / Taking Up: Recognition and the Frontier in Grenville's The Secret River, Adam Gall , single work criticism
'This article examines some aspects of the cultural politics of Kate Grenville's novel, The Secret River (2005), especially with respect to the problematic of Aboriginal and settler possession. Beginning with Grenville's own account, put forward in her writing memoir Searching for The Secret River (2006), and proceeding via the criticisms offered by historian Inga Clendinnen, the article is concerned with the position and operation of the frontier in contemporary settler-colonial culture in Australia. From this perspective, Grenville's novel is read critically as a literary reflection of that culture.' (Author's abstract)
(p. 94-104)
Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.
Gardening in Hell: Abject Presence and Sublime Present in Dead Europe and The Vintner's Luck, Laura Joseph , single work criticism

'In two recent Australian and New Zealand novels, Christos Tsiolkas' Dead Europe (2005) and Elizabeth Knox's The Vintner's Luck (1999) respectively, Europe is cast as hell according to the matter of abjection and the temporality of the sublime. As Kristeva theorises this relationship, "the abject is edged with the sublime. It is not the same moment on the journey, but the same subject and speech bring them into being." (1982:11) This essay investigates these two moments arguing that the irruption of the abject or shock of the sublime also enacts a temporal disturbance. In Dead Europe and The Vintner's Luck, the immanence of the abject and sublime is figured according to an insistence on embodiment, propelled by homoerotic and perverse desires and haunted by an irreducible otherness. This essay takes up the theme of ASAL 2007 "the colonial present" in its consideration of temporality and substance - the present, and presence - in these two novels that flesh out queer spaces within individual and national identity.

'These two texts, individually, but perhaps more potently in their conversation, figure queerness as the becoming and undoing of the subject, the locus of a necessary impossibility and a queer opposition to the logic of opposition.

'This essay analyses The Vintner's Luck, and Dead Europe in order to show, via the rhetorical operations of queerness, how the dark matter of literature, by seeping into impossible spaces, opens up new possibilities.' (Author's abstract)

(p. 105-113)
Note: Includes list of works cited.
'Dancing the Old Enlightenment' : Gould's Book of Fish, the Historical Novel and the Postmodern Sublime, Jo Jones , single work criticism
'The strategy that I wish to explore in this analysis of Gould's Book of Fish is the postmodern experimental narrativisation of the colonial past applied to a political critique of the national present. More specifically, through interpreting the novel through Lyotard's discussion of the postmodern sublime and a theory of bodily experience, it is possible to argue that Flanagan employs a postmodern aesthetic as a type of immanent critique in which the postmodern dialectic can be read as an extension of Enlightenment thinking. In the novel the past is shifting and, at least in a positivistic sense, ultimately irretrievable. This signals the notion of history as the postmodern sublime - a space of irretrievable loss and unfulfilled desire at the edges of the margins of history. While history and the colonial past shift and change in the novel, the representations of bodily experience anchor Flanagan's novel in the recognition that real lives, often individual and collective suffering, often motivate postmodern critiques.' (Author's abstract)
(p. 114-129)
Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.
Australian Classics and the Price of Books : The Puzzle of the 1890s, Paul Eggert , single work criticism
'Feminist accounts of literary canon formation in which male authors typically predominated tend to stress the ideological pressures that marginalised female aspirants for critical attention, both at first publication and then again in ongoing critical debates within influential literary coteries. So it was in the 1980s as feminists sought to account for the overlooking of Australian women novelists (Ada Cambridge, Catherine Martin, Rosa Praed and Tasma), who achieved publication in London in the 1890s but who failed to gain a foothold as 'classics' when a proto-canon of the colonial literary achievement began to be formulated in and after the 1890s. Textual and book-historical research carried out for various scholarly editing projects since the 1980s, once brought together, has opened up the possibility of an empirical, book-historical approach that is very different. The first candidates put forward for elevated status - Henry Kingsley's The Recollections of Geoffry Hamlyn (1859), Marcus Clarke's His Natural Life (1874) and Rolf Boldrewood's Robbery Under Arms (1888) - share a remarkable condition. In the year after the 1888 centenary the three novels were available, cheaply, in the bookshops and therefore in the libraries and mechanics institutes, and all at the same time, despite their varying, original dates of publication. The essay explores the implications of this fact, together with the shift in international tastes towards realism, as reflected and adapted in the Australian colonies.' (Author's abstract)
(p. 130-157)
Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.
Australian Literature and the New Empiricism : A Response to Paul Eggert, 'Australian Classics and the Price of Books', Robert Dixon , single work criticism
Robert Dixon welcomes Paul Eggert's empirically-driven research into the formation of the literary canon in nineteenth century Australia. Dixon believes some wider questions remain to be asked: 'The reading of Australian literature is bound up with broader questions about reading literature in Australia. To put this another way, we probably will not fully understand Australian literature until it is seen as part of the broader political economy of literature in Australia.'
(p. 158-162)
Note: Includes list of works cited.
The Promiscuous Carter Brown, Toni Johnson-Woods , single work criticism
'In Franco Moretti's The Novel, "The Circle Widens" contains a series of essays that explore the transmission of literary forms using quasi-geographic frameworks (402-530). The seven essays use quantitative data to investigate the novel in Britain, the United States of America, Italy, Spain, Japan and Nigeria. Each essay tracks the spread and/or influence of the novel using statistical data. This essay adapts such "literary historiography" to a biological rather than geographical framework to chart the exportation of one of Australia's most successful literary exports, The Carter Brown Mystery Series (CBMS). The CBMS yields well to statistical analysis because of its large sample size (nearly 3000 titles) and its longevity (thirty years) ... I propose that the CBMS phenomenon can be seen, in terms of an epidemiological metaphor, as a literary pandemic.' (163-164)
(p. 163-183)
Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.
Beyond the Colonial Present : Quantitative Analysis, 'Resourceful Reading' and Australian Literary Studies, Katherine Bode , single work criticism
'The revival in cultural nationalism suggested by current debates about Australian history and literature represents (to borrow from Gillian Whitlock) both a potential pleasure and a danger for Australian literary studies. While the injection of funds augured by this shift in government policy could resuscitate and reinvigorate the discipline, at present, such funds seem to be contingent upon reviving a canonical approach to the teaching and researching of Australian literature. This situation places Australian literary studies at a crossroad. Rather than following the path of least resistance and reinstituting the canon, I advocate a move towards innovation: that is, an extension and realisation of the principles and insights of cultural materialism through quantitative methodologies and resourceful readings, as well as through eResearch more generally. This direction would propel Australian literary studies beyond its current crisis of confidence - by reinvigorating the discipline and offering it renewed institutional, political, social and critical relevance, and alternative funding opportunities - without reinvoking the canon, and hence rejecting the cultural materialism that has shaped and positioned Australian literary studies since the 1980s.' (Author's abstract)
(p. 184-197)
Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.
Also available via ANU Digital Collections.
Reprints, International Markets and Local Literary Taste: New Empiricism and Australian Literature, Jason Ensor , single work criticism
'Taking a cue from Franco Moretti's research, my article applies statistical methods to probe the history of publishing Australian novels both locally and internationally. By temporarily suspending our discipline's preoccupation with close readings and canonical judgements, I aim to demonstrate how the computational analysis of large-scale publication data about Australian novels can also provoke alternative kinds of, and responses to, Australian literary history.' (Author's abstract)
(p. 198-218)
Note: Includes end notes and list of works cited.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 9 Aug 2010 11:26:51